Violent beating of a citizen by police officers for personal reasons! Physical violence constitutes inhuman and degrading treatment.

JUDGMENT 

Gülkanat v. Turkey 09.07.2019 (no.38176/08)

see here

SUMMARY 

Ill- treatment of a citizen by police officers  and cover up by senior officers.

The applicant, who had not committed a crime, was led by police officers in a wooded area and was beaten for supposedly  harassing the sister in law of an officer.  When transferred to the police station, he filed a petition to the senior officer, who refused his request. The criminal proceedings against police officers lasted for 8 years, but the proceedings were statute –barred and finally the officers did not got punished.

The Court held that  there was  a violation of Article 3 of the Convention as the ill- treatment suffered by the applicant is equivalent to inhuman and degrading treatment and the State was responsible, as missed  to act effectively and directly in any case of unlawful violence in order to preserve its confidence to the rule of law and to prevent the collusion of those responsible.

PROVISION

Article 3

PRINCIPAL FACTS 

The applicant, Aşur Gülkanat, is a Turkish national who was born in 1961 and lives in Istanbul
(Turkey).

The case concerned allegations of ill-treatment by police officers.

On 9 August 1999, at around 10 a.m., three police officers came to Mr Gülkanat’s home and asked
him to accompany them to the police station. According to Mr Gülkanat, the officers stopped the car
in a wooded area and one of them insulted him, accusing Mr Gülkanat of harassing his sister-in-law.
The three police officers then beat him before taking him to the police station.

When he arrived at the police station, Mr Gülkanat reportedly complained to the senior officer in
charge that he had been beaten and asked him to arrange a medical examination. The officer
refused his request. Mr Gülkanat was released at around midday, without any record being made of
his time at the police station. He subsequently went to the public prosecutor’s office to submit a
criminal complaint and underwent a medical examination. The doctor certified him unfit to work for
five days, noting that he had physical injuries. A few days later the public prosecutor charged the
three officers with abuse of power and ill-treatment and charged the senior officer with professional
misconduct.

In February 2001 the police officers were sentenced to three months’ imprisonment, converted into
a suspended fine. However, the judgment was quashed by the Court of Cassation. In July 2003 the
police officers were again convicted by the District Court, and the Court of Cassation again quashed
the judgment. In March 2006 they were convicted for a third time, but in April 2008 the Court of
Cassation held that the proceedings were statute-barred.

Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Mr Gülkanat complained of his
ill-treatment by the police officers and of the length of the proceedings brought against them for illtreatment. He alleged, in particular, that the officers had enjoyed complete immunity owing to the
application of the statute of limitations.

THE DECISION OF THE COURT…

The Government did not rule on the violation of Article 3 of the Convention in its material aspect. On the other hand, as far as the procedural aspect is concerned, it indicates that the criminal proceedings instituted against the police officers have been examined six times by two bodies and that there has been no period of inactivity. The government asks the Court to reject all the applicant’s allegations.

The Court recalls that, when an individual is deprived of his liberty or, more generally, is confronted by law enforcement officers, the use of physical force against him or her when he or she is not made strictly necessary by its conduct undermines human dignity and constitutes, in principle, a violation of the right guaranteed by Article 3 of the Convention.

The Court also observes that the Government do not contest the facts or the origin of the injuries found in the applicant’s medical certificate. It also notes that it is not disputed that the applicant did not resist physically or did not engage in behavior that would have required the use of force against him.

The Court considers that the injuries found on the applicant’s body have unquestionably caused him such suffering that it amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment of which the Respondent State bears the responsibility.

This leads the Court to conclude that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention in its substantial part.

As to the procedural aspect of this provision, the Court notes that, on 1 April 2008, the criminal proceedings instituted by the indictment on 13 August 1999 against the police resulted in the prescription of , to a striking out of the case of the role. This criminal procedure lasted nearly eight years and eight months and twenty-two days. The Court reiterates that when an official is accused of acts contrary to Article 3, the proceedings or sentence can not be rendered null and void by a prescription, and the application of measures such as amnesty or Grace can not be allowed.

In this respect, the Court recalls that it has previously, on numerous occasions, held in similar cases that the Turkish authorities could not be regarded as having acted with sufficient promptness and due diligence in the context of criminal proceedings involving State agents. It considers that in this case the Turkish authorities can not therefore be regarded as having acted with sufficient promptness and due diligence. The result of this failure is that the perpetrators of the reported acts of violence were finally not penalized. The Court therefore reiterates that a rapid and effective reaction by the authorities is essential to maintain the public’s confidence and adherence to the rule of law, and to prevent any appearance of tolerance of illegal or illegal acts. collusion in their commission.

In the light of its case-law, the Court also finds that there has been a procedural violation of Article 3 of the Convention.

It thus found: (a) Violation of Article 3 (inhumane and degrading treatment) and (b) Violation of Article 3 (investigation)

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


ECHRCaseLaw

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