Police repression of a demonstration and shooting with rubber bullets is a degrading treatment towards demonstrators.

JUDGMENT 

Kılıcı v. Turkey 27.11.2018 (no. 32738/11)

see here

SUMMARY 

Police violence and demonstrations. Demonstration against commercialization and privatization of water. Police attack on demonstrators with the firing of rubber bullets and tear gas. Violation of the prohibition of degrading treatment.

PROVISION

Article 3

PRINCIPAL FACTS 

The applicant, Kadri Kılıcı, is a Turkish national who was born in 1962 and lives in Istanbul (Turkey).
He is a member of the Tüm Bel-Sen trade union, which was founded in 1990 by civil servants from
various local authorities.

The case concerned a demonstration at which Mr Kılıcı had been wounded following the firing of
rubber bullets by police when dispersing the demonstrators.

In March 2009 about 200 members of various trade unions, including Mr Kılıcı’s union, gathered in
Beyoğlu (Istanbul) and moved towards Haliç, a neighbouring district, where the 5
th World Water

Forum was being held, in order to express, through a statement to the press, their disagreement
with the commercialisation and privatisation of water.

The police asked those participating in the walk to Haliç not to continue and instead to make their
statement in Beyoǧlu, in order not to disrupt the traffic. According to Mr Kılıcı, the demonstrators made their statement and, while they were dispersing, the police intervened violently. During their
intervention, Mr Kılıcı was injured by a rubber bullet. According to the police reports on the incident,
as the demonstrators were dispersing certain individuals blocked the routes and headed towards the
forum venue; some of them threw objects at members of the police rapid intervention team. Again
according to the police reports, the members of the intervention team initially reacted by protecting
themselves with their shields, and then used water cannons.

On the day following the incident Mr Kılıcı lodged a complaint with the Beyoğlu public prosecutor.
He stated that, immediately after the demonstrators had read out their statement, the police had
attacked them with truncheons, sprayed them with tear gas and fired rubber bullets at them. He
stated that he had been hit in the back by one of the bullets and had inhaled tear gas. On the same
day Mr Kılıcı was examined at the Beyoğlu Forensic Medicine Institute. Redness and bruising were
found on his back, and it was noted that the wound could be treated by simple medical care. In
August 2010 the prosecutor decided to discontinue the proceedings. In November 2010 the Bakırköy
Assize Court dismissed an appeal lodged by Mr Kılıcı.

Relying in particular on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Mr Kılıcı
complained of a disproportionate and unjustified use of force by the police officers and of the lack of
an effective investigation. He also complained about the fact that he had been injured by a rubber
bullet and inhaled tear gas. Lastly, he alleged that the police had struck the demonstrators with
truncheons.

THE DECISION OF THE COURT 

The Court finds that it has not been established that the use of force suffered by the applicant under the conditions described above was an adequate response to the situation, having regard to the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention and proportionate to the aim pursued, namely to regulate the dispersal of a rally. Likewise, it considers that, in breach of the same provision, the investigative acts undertaken have not taken on a thorough and effective character.

These elements are sufficient for the Court to conclude that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention

Just satisfaction: EUR 5,000 (non-pecuniary damage)(echrcaselaw.com editing).


ECHRCaseLaw

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