Turkey’s Constitutional Court has said that the right to life as well as the right to assembly and demonstration of three protesters had been violated after they were subjected to police violence during an anti-government demonstration in the wake of Reyhanlı car bombings in 2013.
The top court also fined the state to pay 12,500 Turkish Liras (approximately $1,790) in total to the three applicants.
The case concerns the police violence inflicted upon Deniz Kaplan, Eylem Karadağ and Uğur Uzunpınar during a protest in the capital Ankara on May 18, 2013.
Kaplan, Karadağ and Uzunpınar were among many demonstrators who took to the streets of the capital to protest the government’s Syria policy, after two car bombs ripped through the center of Reyhanlı in Hatay province on May 11, 2013 – a town less than half an hour away to the Syrian border. The attack claimed the lives of 52 people and wounded scores more.
A week after the Reyhanlı blasts, a group of protesters in Ankara gathered at Kızılay neighborhood and attempted to deliver a speech in front to the prime ministry office. However, they were exposed to tear gas and police violence.
Kaplan, Karadağ and Uzunpınar filed a complaint against police forces, but prosecutors dropped legal proceedings against them on the grounds that the identities of those who inflicted violence could not be determined.
The Constitutional Court said in its April 22-dated ruling that the police forces had “used disproportionate force” against the protesters and their actions “were incompatible with human dignity.”
Kaplan was beaten by more than one police officer and was hit by batons “even as he was lying on the ground,” said the Constitutional Court.
As for Uzunpınar, the top court said: “The applicant has claimed that a police officer kicked his back even though he was unable to run away as he was on the ground. The applicant’s claim is seen in a clear way on the surveillance records.”
The Constitutional Court has ruled that the case file be sent back to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for them to relaunch a lawsuit against the police forces.
It also ordered the state to pay 5,000 liras and 7,500 liras to Kaplan and Uzunpınar, respectively.