28 June 2018 Thursday

Raşit Konya (no. 2017/26780, 28 June 2018)

The Facts

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

The applicant staying with other inmates (in a multi-occupancy cell) was later placed in a single cell per the order of the Administrative and Monitoring Board of the Penitentiary Institution for security reasons. The applicant’s request for being re-placed in a multi-occupancy cell was rejected by the Magistrate Judge. Thereafter, his appeal against this decision was also dismissed by the assize court. On the other hand, as a result of the changing conditions, the applicant was then re-placed in a multi-occupancy cell with other inmates by the order of the Administrative and Monitoring Board.

Upon the individual application lodged by the applicant, the Court demanded exhaustive information from the relevant penitentiary institution.

The Applicant’s Allegations

The applicant alleged that the prohibition of ill-treatment was breached as he was placed in a single cell for being a member of a terrorist organization.

The Court’s Assessment

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

The solitary confinement of a detainee or his placement separately from other inmates is not per se contrary to Article 17 of the Constitution. Such practices may be resorted to for maintaining disciplinary, for security purposes or with the intent of protecting the detainee from the other inmates. Besides, the measure of single placement may be applied with the aim of preventing the detained person from colluding with outsiders through illegal means to commit crimes.

In the present case, contrary to the allegations the applicant’s communication with other inmates was not hindered as he was allowed to take fresh air together with the other inmates every during his detention in the single cell.

Incidents which may be regarded to constitute ill-treatment in penitentiary institutions may appear in different forms. In this respect, conditions of detention in a single cell may appear to be a real problem within the scope of the prohibition of ill-treatment depending on the particular circumstances of a case. However, these conditions must have attained the minimum level of severity, going beyond the unavoidable level of suffering inherent in detention, which would result from the very nature of the complained action. In the instant case, the Court has concluded that the applicant’s complaint concerning his detention did not exceed the minimum threshold.

In the order of the Administrative and Monitoring Board on the applicant’s placement in a single cell as well as in the court decision dismissing the applicant’s appeal, it is explained that in resorting to such practice, the aim is to ensure the applicant’s life safety and proper conduct of the ongoing investigations. Therefore, the applicant’s allegation that the decisions ordering his placement in a single cell were devoid of relevant and sufficient justification was found to be manifestly ill-found.

For the reasons explained above, the Court declared the applicant’s claim manifestly ill-founded.