Top Turkish court says July 15 coup attempt doesn't justify police torture of detainee

Turkey's Constitutional Court has ordered the state to pay 40,000 liras to an applicant who was detained and tortured by the police in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016. “The ban on mistreatment cannot be put on hold even in the case of a dangerous situation that threatens the nation's existence,” the top court said in its ruling.

Duvar English 

Turkey's Constitutional Court has ruled that the rights of a teacher, who was detained in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt and tortured by the police, were violated.

“The ban on mistreatment cannot be put on hold even in the case of a dangerous situation that threatens the nation's existence. The mistreatment has been banned even in the most difficult conditions such as the struggle against terrorism and organized crimes,” the top court's ruling read, according to a report by online news outlet T24 on Sept. 21.

The case concerns the application of Eyüp Birinci, who was detained on July 27, 2016 in the southern province of Antalya. Birinci's family has not heard from him for a while after his detention, which led them to apply to the prosecutor's office. The family later found out that Birinci had been hospitalized with heavy bruises and marks on his body.

Birinci went through a surgery as his large bowel had been ruptured due to the torture. After staying in intensive care for many days, Birinci finally recovered.

The Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor's Office demanded the relevant documents from the hospital as well as the police.

The Antalya police claimed in its defense that Birinci “had fallen from the stairs” while under custody and further refused to send the video recording taken at the station.

The prosecutors closed the case without even consulting the testimonies of detainees held at the police station at the time. In their decision of non-prosecution, the prosecutors argued that it could not be determined if Birinci's bruises had developed the bruises as a result of the torture and falling from the stairs.

The Constitutional Court demanded that the investigation be relaunched and evidence be collected properly. The top court pointed out the lack of negligence on the part of prosecutors for not taking other detainees' testimonies or reasking the police for the video footage of the incident.

“The state needs to determine those responsible for every kind of physical and spiritual attack and run an effective investigation to ensure that they are punished if needed,” it said.

The top court also ordered the state to pay 40,000 liras ($4,630) in compensation to the applicant.

After his arrest, Birinci was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison on charges of being linked to the Gülen network. His case is currently pending at the Court of Cassation, Turkey's highest court of appeals.