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ECHR orders Turkey to pay damages for not sending inmates to jails nearer home

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Turkey to pay compensation after it  violated the rights of  two prisoners by rejecting their requests to be transferred to a prison closer to their family home

The pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya News Agency (MA) reported on Thursday that the ECHR,  relying on Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights titled -Right to respect for private and family life, that transfers of inmates to prisons that are distant from places they reside is a violation of rights.

Aydin Atay from MA reported that the court ordered Turkey to pay 6,000 euros to each of the two applicants for non-pecuniary damage and an additional 1,000 euros to one applicant for costs and expenses.

The decision on the applications of Abdulkerim Avsar and Abdulkerim Tekin, who asked to be transferred to a prison nearer their family home after being sentenced to life imprisonment over terror-related charges, was given on Tuesday.

“At the time of lodging his application, Mr. Avsar was being held in the F-type prison in [Turkey’s central] Kirikkale, whereas his family lived in [southeastern] Diyarbakır. His mother, who was suffering from Parkinson’s disease, was unable to travel,” the court informed.

Although Avsar initially twice applied to the Directorate General of Prisons attached to the Ministry of Justice to be transferred to a prison in Diyarbakır, the ministry refused his requests in 2008, the court also said.

The ministry finally transferred him to Diyarbakir T-type prison on May 25, 2018, after a series of applications to local courts.

The ECHR also indicated that  Tekin was being held in the F-type prison in Kirikkale, whereas his family lived in a village near Turkey’s southeastern Siirt province at the time of lodging his application.

Tekin’s 2011 application to the Ministry of Justice to be transferred closer to his family was refused on the grounds that the prisons to which he had asked to be transferred had reached full capacity, the court further stated.

“On 22 August 2016 Mr. Tekin informed the Court’s Registry that he had been transferred to prison some 1,500 km away from Siirt,” the ECHR highlighted.

Sidar Avsar, the lawyer representing the two applicants told the MA that the ruling will serve as a precedent for the cases of other inmates who are kept in prisons distant from their family homes.

The lawyer explained that most of the arrested politicians had been transferred to jails away from their family homes.

“This decision [of ECHR] can affect former [pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party] HDP co-chairs Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas, as well as arrested ex-HDP MPs Sebahat Tuncel, Selma Irmak, Caglar Demirel, Idris Baluken and Abdullah Zeydan,” Avsar noted.

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