Turkey Condemned by Human Rights Court for Torture of Alleged Kurdish Militant

STRASBOURG (AFP)–The European Court of Human Rights condemned Turkey on Tuesday for the 1998 torture of a man accused of having links with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK–now renamed KONGRA-GEL).

It dismissed a similar case brought by a second man arrested in the same incident but found Turkey guilty in both cases of failing to provide an effective remedy to complaints of ill-treatment.

Turkish police arrested Abdurrahman Celik and Kasim Imret on May 17–1998 on suspicion of acting as couriers for the PKK; they were later cleared of the charge.

Both Celik and Imret said that while in detention–they were subjected to electric shocks–notably on their genitals–and also beaten–deprived of food and water–kept in isolation–immersed in cold water and threatened with death.

The Turkish government argued that injuries found on Celik’s body–a large bruise under one eye and lesions in the groin area–were the result of a fall–an account the Strasbourg-based court found "not very convincing," ruling that they were the result of treatment for which the Turkish government was responsible.

Accordingly–it found that Turkey had violated an article of the European Convention on Human Rights prohibiting torture.

In the case of Imret–it acquitted Turkey on the grounds that the plaintiff had not provided proof of his allegations.

But it ruled that the Turkish authorities had been remiss in failing to rapidly prosecute the police officers involved–and found Turkey in breach of its obligation to provide an effective remedy to the men’s complaints.

Turkey was ordered to pay 10,000 euros (12,800 dollars) to Celik and 5,000 euros to Imret.

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