The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Turkey violated the European Convention on Human Rights’ Article 5, Clause 4 (right to a speedy review of the lawfulness of detention) in the case of former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ.
The ECHR held that Turkey was to pay Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ 5,500 euros each in respect of non-pecuniary damage and 2,500 euros jointly in respect of costs and expenses.
“The Court considered that the domestic courts had not demonstrated the existence of exceptional circumstances that could justify derogating from the core principle of the confidentiality of the applicants’ meetings with their lawyers, and that the breach of lawyer-client privilege had deprived the applicants of effective assistance from their lawyers for the purposes of Article 5 § 4 of the Convention,” the EHCR said.
The top European rights court recalled that it had rejected the Turkish government’s argument that Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ were being kept imprisoned over terrorism-related offenses, which is why it said the measures imposed on the former HDP co-chairs were unjustified.
Judgment Demirtas and Yüksekdag Senoglu v. Türkiye - Failure to respect the confidentiality of meetings between the applicants and their lawyershttps://t.co/90btvKtZwZ#ECHR #CEDH #ECHRpress pic.twitter.com/faWCZDfnbq— ECHR CEDH (@ECHR_CEDH) June 6, 2023
In their petition filed to the ECHR, Demirtaş and Yüksekdağ said that they had not had effective legal assistance in order to appeal against their pre-trial detention, on account of the prison authorities’ surveillance of their meetings with their lawyers and the seizure of the documents exchanged with them.
The measures in question, which had been ordered for a three-month period, ended on Feb. 14, 2017.
The European Convention on Human Rights’ Article 5 § 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights read as follows: “Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful.”