Application nos. 3543/03 and 3557/03 
by Sinan YILDIZ and Şidar SÖNMEZ 
against Turkey

The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on 20 September 2005 as a Chamber composed of:

Mr J.-P. Costa, President
 Mr A.B. Baka
 Mr R. Türmen
 Mr K. Jungwiert
 Mr M. Ugrekhelidze
 Ms D. Jočienė, 
 Mr D. Popović, judges,

and Mr S. Naismith, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above applications lodged on 2 January 2003,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:


The applicants, Mr Sinan Yıldız and Mr Şidar Sönmez, are Turkish nationals who were born in 1977 and 1979 respectively. They both live in Tunceli. They are represented before the Court by Mr H. Aygün and Mr Ö.U. Kaplan, lawyers practising in Tunceli.

The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicants, may be summarised as follows.

On 14 January 2001 the applicants were arrested and placed in police custody by officers from the anti-terrorism branch of the Tunceli Security Directorate on suspicion of involvement in the activities of an illegal armed organisation, namely the TKP/ML (Türkiye Komünist Partisi Marksist Leninis, Turkish Communist Party-Marxist Leninist).

On 18 January 2001 the applicants were questioned by the police about their activities in the illegal organisation.

The first applicant explained that TKP/ML was an illegal party which supported communism. He stated that he was not a member of this party but he was involved in the activities of its youth branch. He maintained that in order to help the organisation, he had distributed a newspaper called Revolutionary Democracy, tried to convince people to become members of TKP/ML and sprayed slogans on walls. He further admitted that he had attended the funeral of F.K., who had burnt himself to protest against the F-type prisons.

In his police interrogation the second applicant stated that the aim of TKP/ML was to undermine the constitutional order and to replace it with a Marxist-Leninist regime. He explained that he had been involved in the formation of the youth branch of this organisation in Tunceli. He also admitted that in order to protest against F-type prisons, he had taken part in hunger strikes and painted slogans on walls. He further stated that he had participated and chanted slogans at the funeral of F.K.

On 19 January 2001 the applicants were brought before the public prosecutor, where they repeated their statements taken by the police.

The same day the applicants were brought before the investigating judge at the Tunceli Magistrate’s Court. Before the judge, the first applicant repeated his police statement. The second applicant however denied the charges against him and denied his statements taken by the police and the prosecutor. The investigating judge ordered that both applicants be placed in detention on remand.

In an indictment dated 20 February 2001, the public prosecutor initiated criminal proceedings against the applicants before the Malatya State Security Court, accusing them, inter alia, of membership of an illegal armed organisation. The prosecution asked the court to sentence the applicants pursuant to Article 168 of the Criminal Code.

On 9 April 2002 the Malatya State Security Court found the applicants guilty of aiding and abetting an illegal organisation and sentenced them each to three years and nine months’ imprisonment pursuant to Article 168 of the Criminal Code.

On 12 November 2002 the Court of Cassation upheld the judgment of the Malatya State Security Court, finding that the applicants’ grounds of appeal were unfounded.


The applicants complain under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention about the length of their police custody.

The applicants allege under Article 6 § 3 (c) of the Convention that they were deprived of their right to legal assistance while in police custody.


1.  Under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention, the applicants complain about the excessive length of their police custody.

The Court observes that the applicants’ police custody ended on 19 January 2001. However, the application was lodged with the Court on 2 January 2003, which is more than six months from the date of the facts giving rise to the alleged violation.

It follows that this complaint has been introduced out of time and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention.

2.  Under Article 6 § 3 (c) of the Convention, the applicants state that they were denied the assistance of a lawyer during their custody.

The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the case file, determine the admissibility of this complaint and that it is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 2 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of it the respondent Government.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to join the applications;

Decides to adjourn the examination of the applicants’ complaint concerning the absence of legal assistance during their police custody;

Declares the remainder of the applications inadmissible.

S. Naismith J.-P. Costa 
 Deputy Registrar President