Press Release No: Individual Application 14/17
28.06.2017

PRESS RELEASE ON THE DECISION REJECTING THE REQUEST FOR THE DISCONTINUATION OF DETENTION ON REMAND, AS A MEASURE, DUE TO HEALTH PROBLEMS ARISING FROM A HUNGER STRIKE

The application concerns the applicants’ allegations that their placement in detention, in spite of suffering health problems for being on a hunger strike, is in breach of their right to life.

Invoking Article 73 of the Internal Regulations of the Constitutional Court, the applicants, Semih Özakça and Nuriye Gülmen, requested that their detention be discontinued and they be released by stating that they were suffering health problems for being on a hunger strike.

Within the framework of the application form and the information and documents received from the relevant penitentiary institutions, the Constitutional Court have found established that the applicants’ states of health have been monitored since the first day they were placed in the penitentiary institutions; that it was initially planned to refer them to the state hospital located within the campus of the penitentiary institution for being subject to medical treatments and examinations, however the applicants denied being referred thereto; and that they have been monitored by the Primary Care Physician Department at the Penitentiary Institution. It has been further observed that all kinds of measures have been taken for emergency situations; and that the procedures for ensuring their referral to the Forensic Medicine Institute with a view to receiving a report by which it would be determined whether the applicants could be placed in the Penitentiary Institution are in progress.  

Accordingly, the Constitutional Court has concluded that, given the applicants’ complaints with respect to their states of health, their referral to health-care organizations has been ensured; moreover, a state hospital is located within the campus of the penitentiary institution; and that therefore, the placement of the applicants, who were provided with necessary health-care services,  in the penitentiary institution has not led to a situation which poses a threat to their lives or to their physical and spiritual integrity and which had necessitated to take immediately an interim measure decision in respect of them.

Besides, the Court emphasizes that taking of necessary measures, by the penitentiary institutions, for the applicants’ detention on remand under circumstances which are appropriate for their states of health and in compliance with their physical conditions is a requisite of the obligation to protect the individuals’ right to life.

For the above-mentioned reasons, the Constitutional Court unanimously held on 28 June 2017 that 

A. The applicants’ request for an interim measure for their release be rejected;

B. Necessary measures for the applicants’ being detained under circumstances appropriate for their states of health and in compliance with their physical conditions be taken by the penitentiary institutions;

C. In case of the occurrence of new incidents within the scope of the application, it be possible to ex officio re-examine the request for an interim measure, and the applicants be entitled to once again request for an interim measure at every stage.

D. One copy of the decision be circulated to the applicants’ representative, the Directorate General of Prisons and Detention Houses of the Ministry of Justice, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and the relevant Penitentiary Institution Administrations.

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

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