European court convicts Turkey in deadly prison hunger strike operation

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday that Turkey has violated European Convention of Human Rights principles in a massive operation by security forces to end hunger strikes in a number of Turkish prisons in 2000.
The Strasbourg-based court ruled that Turkey violated Article 2 of the convention, which regulates the right to life, and Article 3, which prohibits inhuman or degrading treatment, according to a statement on the website of the Council of Europe, to which the court is attached.
More than 30 prisoners were killed when security forces stormed prisons across Turkey on Dec. 19, 2000 to end a hunger strike protest launched by leftist prisoners in October against plans to transfer them from large wards to F-type small cells.
The European court handed down its verdict in a case brought by 18 applicants who were held in Istanbuland’s Bayrampaia prison at the time of the operation, dubbed Operation Return to Life because of its stated objective to save the prisoners from dying from the hunger strike.
Violent clashes took place at Bayrampaia and other prisons when the security forces intervened to end the prisonersand’ protest. A total of 12 prisoners were killed and some 50 were injured at Bayrampaia prison, some of them by firearms, where some 45 prisoners had been on hunger strike.
After their evacuation, the injured prisoners, who were among those who brought the case to the European court, were taken to hospital for treatment, while others were transferred to different prisons.
The applicants complained in their application to the court that the use of force by the authorities during the operation was excessive and disproportionate, resulting in violations of their rights. They also complained that they had been subjected to the unjustified use of tear gas.
The court ruled that Turkey committed a violation of the right to life in respect of applicant Songandul ince and violated the Article 3 on prohibition of inhuman treatment in respect of applicants andOzgandul Dede, Gandulperi andOzen, Aydan Odabai and Fatma Ganduzel.
The court ordered Turkey to pay 15,000 euros to ince, 10,000 euros each to Dede and andOzen and 8,000 euros each to Odabai and Ganduzel, as well as 3,000 euros jointly to all applicants to cover costs and expenses.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman