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Europe rights court fines Turkey in 1999 police torture case

Turkey was ordered by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] to pay €20,000 (USD $27,000) in damages to Mesut Deniz for his torture at the hands of police in a judgment [text] released Tuesday. Deniz, a 38-year-old Turkish National, was arrested in October 1999 and is currently being detained in Sincan Prison, Ankara Province. Medical reports from the days following his arrest show a number of bodily injuries that Deniz alleges were inflicted by police officers who beat him, administered electric shocks, and twisted his genitals, among other forms of torture. Deniz's complaint of ill-treatment relied on Articles 3 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF] prohibiting torture and providing a right to effective remedy. An officer was charged for the mistreatment in 2000 but was acquitted in 2007. The Turkish court denied Deniz's attempt to appeal the decision because he "had not made himself a civil party to proceedings."

Turkey has faced criticism for the conduct of its police in the past. The Council of Europe [official website] Commissioner for Human Rights called for investigation [JURIST report] into the "extremely disproportionate" use of force by Turkey police against anti-government protesters in July. Nine lawyers were charged [JURIST report] in January for suspected membership in an outlawed revolutionary group. Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] condemned the arrests as symptomatic of Turkey's use of broad anti-terrorism laws to suppress legitimate activities. In October 2012 the ECHR ruled [JURIST report] that Turkey had violated Articles 3 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights when it mistreated a gay man during his prison detention.

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