Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey Anayasa Mahkemesi
Press Release No: Individual Application 31/18
27.07.2018

PRESS RELEASE CONCERNING THE DECISION FINDING THE ALLEGATION OF THE PROHIBITION OF ILL-TREATMENT DUE TO PRISON CONDITIONS INADMISSIBLE

On 27 June 2018, the Second Section of the Constitutional Court declared the alleged violation of the prohibition of ill-treatment inadmissible for being manifestly ill-founded, in the individual application lodged by Mehmet Hanifi Baki (no. 2017/36197).

The Facts

Following the coup-attempt of 15 July, the applicant was detained on remand for his alleged membership to the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization / Parallel State Structure (“the FETÖ/PDY”) and transferred to a penitentiary institution.

Complaining of the inadequacy of the conditions due to high number of inmates in his cell, the applicant filed an application with the Execution Judge and requested the number of inmates to be decreased.

His request was rejected on the basis of excessive number of persons detained on remand following the coup-attempt and insufficient capacity of the penitentiary institution. The applicant’s appeal against this decision was also dismissed by the incumbent assize court. Having received the applicant’s individual application, the Constitutional Court demanded exhaustive information from the penitentiary institution.

About four months after his individual application, the applicant was released.

The Applicant’s Allegations

The applicant maintained that the prohibition of ill-treatment was breached for being kept in an overcrowded cell.  

The Constitutional Court’s Assessment

The complaints concerning the conditions in the penitentiary institution are examined within the scope of the prohibition of ill-treatment safeguarded by Article 17 § 3 of the Constitution.

In the present case, the applicant complained of overcrowding in the penitentiary institution and did not submit any other complaint.

Following the armed coup attempt taking place at the night of 15 July 2016, an investigation was initiated against the persons considered to have a link with the FETÖ/PDY, and the number of persons detained on remand thus increased throughout the country within a very short time.  Therefore, the number of inmates in the penitentiary institution where the applicant was detained exceeded the prison capacity. However, in the subsequent periods, certain measures –such as increasing the number of bunk beds and wardrobes− were taken in order to avoid insufficient conditions.

Moreover, following the introduction of fresh measures such as mass transfers of inmates and release of some detainees, number of inmates in the applicant’s cell was decreased even below the cell capacity.   

It has been also observed that the toilet and bathroom in the applicant’s cell were compatible to preserve privacy as well as the kitchen and fresh air and communal areas were in conformity with standards. 

Regard being had to the conditions of the detention as a whole, it has been concluded that the present case did not attain the minimum threshold required for ill-treatment.

For the reasons explained above, the Court declared inadmissible the alleged violation of the prohibition of ill-treatment for being manifestly ill-founded.  

This press release prepared by the General Secretariat intends to inform the public and has no binding effect.

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