Applications nos. 39260/04,
by Hasan KAPLAN and Others
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on 30 August 2007 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr A.B. Baka,
Mr I. Cabral Barreto,
Mr R. Türmen,
Mr M. Ugrekhelidze,
Mrs A. Mularoni,
Mr D. Popović, judges,
and Mrs S. Dollé, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above applications lodged on 15 September (no. 39260/04) and 14 September 2004 (nos. 39263/04 and 32265/04),
Having regard to the decision to apply Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and examine the admissibility and merits of the case together,
Having regard to the partial decision of 20 June 2006,
Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicants, Mr Hasan Kaplan, Mr Uğur Kalaycı, Mr Bayram Yalçın Sentürk, Mr Ahmet Özcan and Mr Haydar Köseibiş, are Turkish nationals who were born in 1958, 1965, 1956, 1961 and 1955 respectively; they live in Ankara, Samsun, Istanbul and Amasya. They were represented before the Court by Mr M. N. Özmen, a lawyer practising in Ankara. The Turkish Government (“the Government”) did not designate an Agent for the purposes of the proceedings before the Court.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
The applicants were arrested and taken into police custody on suspicion of membership of an illegal organisation, the Dev-Yol (Revolutionary Way) on 26 November 1980, 26 May 1981, 4 October 1980, 23 September 1980 and 4 August 1980 respectively.
By an indictment dated 17 August 1981, the Chief Public Prosecutor at the Erzican Martial Court instituted criminal proceedings against the first three applicants and 121 others, charging them with membership of the abovementioned organisation. On an unspecified date in 1981, the public prosecutor filed an indictment accusing the remaining two applicants with membership of the same organisation.
The applicants were detained on remand on various dates.
In 1982 the applicant Uğur Kalaycı was released pending trial.
In 1985 the Erzincan Martial Court convicted the first three applicants of premeditated murder, pursuant to Article 450 § 4 of the Criminal Code, and sentenced them to life imprisonment. On 15 May 1985 the remaining two applicants were convicted of the same crime and were also sentenced to life imprisonment.
In 1991 the Military Court of Cassation quashed the judgment of the Erzincan Martial Court on the ground that the latter had misinterpreted the domestic law in respect of the offence in question and remitted the cases to the court of first instance.
Subsequent to the promulgation of Law no. 3953 on 27 December 1993, which abolished the jurisdiction of the Martial Law Courts, the Ankara Assize Court acquired jurisdiction in the applicants’ case.
In 1994 the Ankara Assize Court commenced the applicants’ trial.
On 8 April 1996 the Assize Court, in the absence of the applicants, decided to discontinue the proceedings against the first three applicants, as the prosecution of the offences had become time-barred. On 6 October 1997 the court rendered the same judgment in respect of the remaining two applicants.
The judgment of the Ankara Assize Court was communicated to the applicants on 10 June 2004, 18 June 2004, 10 June 2004, 28 June 2004 and 10 June 2004 respectively.
The applicants complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the criminal proceedings against them had not been concluded within a reasonable time.
They further maintained that there existed no effective remedy under Turkish law whereby they could have challenged the excessive length of the proceedings in dispute. They relied on Article 13 of the Convention in this respect.
On 20 June 2006 the Court decided to join the applications, to declare them partly inadmissible and to communicate the complaints to the respondent Government. On 13 September 2006 the Government submitted their observations on the admissibility and merits of the case. On 25 September 2006 the applicants’ representative was invited to submit by 6 November 2006 any further observations in reply, together with any claims for just satisfaction.
On 23 April 2007 the Registry sent a registered letter to the applicants’ representative, informing him that the period allowed for the submission of the applicants’ observations had expired on 6 November 2006 and that no extension of time had been requested. This letter was delivered to the applicants’ representative on 1 May 2007. The Court notes that, in the said letter, the attention of the applicants was also drawn to Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention. The Registry received no response.
In these circumstances, the Court considers that the applicants may be regarded as no longer wishing to pursue their application, within the meaning of Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 37 § 1 in fine, the Court finds no special circumstances regarding respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols which require the continued examination of the case.
Accordingly, Article 29 § 3 of the Convention should no longer apply to the case and it should be struck out of the list.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
S. Dollé F. Tulkens
KAPLAN AND OTHERS v. TURKEY DECISION
KAPLAN AND OTHERS v. TURKEY DECISION