• Tuesday, 26 September 2023

European Court of Human Rights Rules Violation of Rights for Former HDP Co-Chairs

European Court of Human Rights Rules Violation of Rights for Former HDP Co-Chairs

In a recent Chamber judgment, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has determined that the rights of former co-chairs of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey, Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas, were violated.

The court's ruling, passed with a majority of 6 votes to 1, found a breach of Article 5 § 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to a speedy review of the lawfulness of detention.

Yuksekdag and Demirtas, who are currently incarcerated, raised concerns about the lack of effective legal assistance in appealing against their pre-trial detention. They claimed that the prison authorities had monitored their meetings with lawyers and seized documents exchanged during these meetings. The measures in question were implemented under Emergency Legislative Decree No. 676, enacted following the attempted coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

The ECHR concluded that the domestic courts had failed to establish exceptional circumstances justifying the violation of the confidentiality of the applicants' lawyer-client meetings. The breach of lawyer-client privilege was deemed to have deprived Yuksekdag and Demirtas of effective legal assistance, as guaranteed by Article 5 § 4. The court also highlighted the absence of adequate safeguards against abuse concerning the restrictions imposed by the authorities. Furthermore, the national authorities failed to provide detailed evidence justifying the measures implemented under Emergency Legislative Decree No. 676.

This ruling by the ECHR emphasizes the importance of upholding fundamental human rights, including the right to a fair and speedy review of detention and the right to confidential communication between lawyers and their clients. The decision raises concerns about the protection of human rights in Turkey and underscores the need for ensuring the proper application of legal safeguards.

The judgment serves as a reminder of the role played by international courts in safeguarding human rights and holding governments accountable for potential violations. The ECHR's ruling calls for prompt action to rectify the violations suffered by Yuksekdag and Demirtas, urging the Turkish authorities to address the shortcomings identified by the court.

The outcome of this case will likely draw attention to the broader human rights situation in Turkey and may lead to renewed discussions and efforts to ensure the protection of civil liberties and the rule of law within the country.

By Kobin Ferhad