15/11/2011 | Writer: Kaos GL
The European Court of Human rights convicted the Turkish government for failing to carry out an effective investigation in the case of transgender woman Halat who was harassed by a police officer. The Pink Live Association called on the government to counteract human rights violations of transgender persons.
In Wednesday’s (8 November) judgment in the case of transgender woman Esma Halat the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) held "by five votes to two, that there had been: A violation of the procedural aspect of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case concerned allegations of ill-treatment in police custody".
Halat had complained about a police officer who took her to the Beşiktaş (Istanbul) Police Station by force when she was on her way home in October 1999. Halat was exposed to physical and psychological harassment. She eventually applied to the ECHR after domestic remedies had been exhausted.
The ECHR ruled, "The Court [...] concluded, by five votes to two, that there had been no violation of Article 3 in relation to the alleged ill-treatment. [...]The Court concluded that the investigation into Ms Halat’s allegations had not been effective and that it would probably not have led to the identification and punishment of those responsible for the alleged acts. The Court therefore found a violation of Article 3 concerning the lack of an effective investigation".
"The Court observed that Ms Halat had applied to join the proceedings in order to secure the accused’s conviction and not with a view to protecting or being granted any civil rights. It therefore declared inadmissible Ms Halat’s complaint concerning the length of the proceedings against the deputy superintenden"t.
Article 6 - right to a fair hearing
"The Court observed that Ms Halat had applied to join the proceedings in order to secure the accused’s conviction and not with a view to protecting or being granted any civil rights. It therefore declared inadmissible Ms Halat’s complaint concerning the length of the proceedings against the deputy superintendent".
Article 13 - right to an effective remedy
"The Court noted that it had already dealt with the question of the effectiveness of the investigation. It therefore held that it was not necessary to examine separately whether the lack of an effective investigation into Ms Halat’s allegations had infringed her right to an effective remedy before the national courts".
Article 41 - just satisfaction
"The Court ordered Turkey to pay Ms Halat 15,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 2,000 for costs and expenses", the ECHR concluded.
"Turkey has to take this symbolic decision seriously"
The Pink Life LGBT Association urged the Turkish authorities in a press release on the ECHR decision to take immediate steps against human rights violations imposed on transgender individuals by the police.
"This decision of the ECHR supports the reality of law-enforcement officers who are being rewarded with impunity in the course of internal investigation and prosecution stages concerning continuous ill-treatment and violence against transgender individuals. It supports the reality of administrative units failing to carry out effective investigations about law-enforcement officers who use violence and ill-treatment and protecting the offenders by prolonging procedures and thus victimizing the victims once more".
"Although the court did not decide on this issue, it brings up to the agenda arbitrary punishment, ill-treatment and violence against transgender individuals carried out by the police by abusing various laws and excessive use of their duty".
"Taking this symbolic decision of the ECHR into consideration, the government of Turkey has to take immediate steps against human rights violations of transgender individuals by the police. Laws like the Law on Duties and Powers of the Police, the Law on Misdemeanors and the Traffic Law should be reviewed immediately. Regulations that facilitate rights violation carried out by the police should be lifted. Effective and independent investigations have to be launched in case of violent treatment of transgender individuals by the police. The judiciary must not reward the police with impunity and all kinds of mechanisms have to be implemented against ill-treatment and violence aimed at transgender individuals". (bianet)