Press Release No: Individual Application 18/18
14.06.2018

PRESS RELEASE CONCERNING THE JUDGMENT FINDING A VIOLATION OF RIGHT TO LIBERTY FOR BEING KEPT AT A POLICE STATION BY OFF-DUTY POLICE OFFICERS

On 12 April 2018, the Plenary of the Constitutional Court found a violation of the personal liberty and security safeguarded by Article 19 of the Constitution in the individual application lodged by Mehmet Baydan (no. 2014/16308).

The Facts

The applicant was summoned to the police station by phone.

He maintained that he had been kept unjustly at the police station for a long period of time. He was informed by the police officers that he was summoned to the police station upon a woman’s accusation of harassment and threat. The officers noted that they also summoned the accuser for filing an official complaint; however, she responded that she could not be present at the police station on that day.

Thereafter, the applicant filed a complaint against the officers at the police station. The prosecutor’s officer rendered a decision of non-prosecution concerning these officers. The applicant’s challenge to this decision was dismissed by the incumbent assize court.

The Applicant’s Allegations

The applicant claimed that his personal liberty and security was breached as he was unjustly kept at the police station without a charge or criminal proceedings against him.  

The Constitutional Court’s Assessment

An interference with the personal liberty safeguarded by Article 19 of the Constitution requires an actual restriction of a person’s freedom of movement. For an interference with the personal liberty and security, a person must be physically kept in a place for a certain period of time which causes discomfort at least.

Article 13 of the Constitution sets forth that fundamental rights and freedoms may be restricted only by law.  

In the instant case, the applicant went to the police station upon being summoned. During the period he was at the police station, he was accompanied by three off duty police officers in a place where no video footage could be taken.  

According to the task schedule, these police officers were not among the staff who were on duty at the police station on that day and at that hour. Without being duly assigned by the competent authorities, it is not possible for police officers serving within another police unit to undertake a task within the scope of the investigation conducted into the concrete case.

Moreover, there is no fact indicating that the incident was notified to the investigation authorities by the police officers. Nor is there any judicial process initiated at the police station against the applicant during the impugned period. Besides, in the instant case, there is no flagrante delicto situation or any other circumstances that require police officers to take an immediate action.  

Accordingly, the applicant was kept, by the off-duty police officers, at the police station for a certain period without an action taken in respect of him. It appears that the applicant’s being kept at the police station does not fall into the ambit of any circumstance which, under Article 19 of the Constitution, justifies an interference with the right to personal liberty and security.

For the reasons explained above, the Court found a violation of the personal liberty and security safeguarded by Article 19 of the Constitution.

This press release prepared by the General Secretariat intends to inform the public and has no binding effect.

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