Individual Application 14/19

Press Release Concerning the Judgment Finding a Violation of the Right to Personal Liberty and Security Due to the Failure to Conduct a Judicial Review of Detention Before a Judge/Court

On 23 January 2019, the Second Section of the Constitutional Court found a violation of the right to personal liberty and security, safeguarded by Article 19 of the Constitution, in the individual application lodged by İbrahim Soylu (no. 2015/14648).

The Facts

The applicant taken into custody within the scope of an investigation conducted by the relevant chief public prosecutor’s office was detained on remand by the incumbent assize court.  

He was charged with membership of an armed terrorist organization, causing damage to property, disseminating propaganda of a terrorist organization and contravening the Law no. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations Marches.

The proceedings against the applicant were initiated before the assize court which ordered his release at the first hearing. It is still pending before the first instance court.

Relying on Article 141 of the Code of Criminal Procedure no. 5271, the applicant brought a compensation action for his not having been brought before a judge within a reasonable time. The assize court dismissed his action on the ground that the impugned case was still pending. On the appeal by the applicant, the first instance decision was upheld by the Court of Cassation.

The Applicant’s Allegations

The applicant maintained that his right to personal liberty and security had been violated, stating that he had been brought before the court thirteen months after his detention.

The Court’s Assessment

One of the basic safeguards afforded by Article 19 of the Constitution is the right to an effective review of the challenge against detention at hearings conducted in the presence of a judge. Providing the individual, who has been deprived of his liberty, with the opportunity to orally present, before a judge/court, his complaints in connection therewith, his claims about the evidence forming a basis for his detention and his submissions and counter-statements will enable him to more effectively challenge his detention.

In an individual application where the applicant’s detention was reviewed over a case-file without holding a hearing for seven months, the Court found a violation of Article 19 of the Constitution. 

In the present case, the applicant was brought before a judge/court nearly one year after his detention. The compensation action brought by him for his not having been brought before a court/judge was dismissed by the first instance court. Besides, the Court of Cassation denied his allegation, noting that the high number of complainants in the impugned case would have a bearing on the prolongation of this period. 

The grounds relied on by the Court of Cassation may be deemed sufficient for the excessive length of the applicant’s detention. However, they cannot justify his continued detention for over one year without being brought before a court/judge. Neither complex nature of the case nor high number of the accused and complainants in his case may be regarded as a justified ground for the failure to bring him before a court/judge for such a long time.    

Accordingly, the judicial review of the applicant’s detention without a hearing and his deprivation of liberty for about thirteen months on the basis of such a procedure resulted in the failure to afford him sufficient safeguards.

Consequently, the Court found a violation of the right to personal liberty and security safeguarded by Article 19 of the Constitution.

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