Application no. 77343/01
by Orhan ATALAY and Others
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on 24 January 2006 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr J.-P. Costa, President,
Mr A.B. Baka,
Mr R. Türmen,
Mr K. Jungwiert,
Mr M. Ugrekhelidze,
Mrs A. Mularoni,
Mrs E. Fura-Sandström, judges,
and Mrs S. Dollé, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 8 August 2001,
Having regard to the partial decision of 1 July 2004,
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 formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case.
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicants, MM. Orhan Atalay, Abdullah Şaşmaz, Ahmet Taş, Adnan Karakaş and Hikmet Adsız, are Turkish nationals who were born in 1968, 1971, 1974, 1962 and 1963, respectively. They were represented before the Court by Mr S. Özdemir, a lawyer practising in Ankara.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
The first and second applicants were detained on 22 December 1992, the third applicant was detained on 31 October 1992, the fourth applicant was detained on 6 January 1993 and the fifth applicant was detained on 16 January 1993. They were accused of being members of the PKK (the Workers’ Party of Kurdistan) and of carrying out separatist activities against the Republic of Turkey.
On 18 January 1993 the first and second applicants were brought before the investigating judge. The fifth applicant was brought before the investigating judge on 20 January 1993. The other applicants were brought before the investigating judge after one month in police custody. Subsequently, the investigating judges ordered the applicants’ detention on remand.
On 9 March 1993 the public prosecutor at the Diyarbakır State Security Court filed an indictment against fifty-nine persons, including the applicants, accusing them, inter alia, of being involved in separatist activities and of being members of the PKK.
On 17 March 1993 the Diyarbakır State Security Court commenced the applicants’ trial. It held its first hearing on 26 April 1993.
The applicants were present at most of the hearings held between 26 April 1993 and 8 May 2000.
On 8 May 2000 the Diyarbakır State Security Court convicted the applicants and sentenced them to death, pursuant to Article 125 of the Criminal Code. The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.
The case was automatically referred to the Court of Cassation for an appeal.
On 2 April 2001 the Court of Cassation dismissed the appeal and upheld the judgment of the first-instance court.
The applicants complained that the length of the proceedings had been incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
The Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I declare that the Government of Turkey offer to pay ex gratia EUR 2,000 (two thousand euros) to each applicant, i.e. a total of EUR 10,000 (ten thousand euros), with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum, which is to cover any damages as well as costs and expenses connected with the case, shall be free of any tax that may be applicable and be paid in euros, to be converted into Turkish liras at the rate applicable at the date of the payment, to a bank account named by the applicants and/or their duly authorised representative. This sum shall be payable within three months from the date of notification of the Court’s decision delivered pursuant to Article 37 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In the event of failure to pay this sum within the said three-month period, the Government undertake to pay simple interest on it, from expiry of that period until settlement, at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points. The payment will constitute the final resolution of the case. ...”
The Court received the following declaration signed by the applicants’ representative:
“In my capacity as the representative of the applicants, I note that the Government of Turkey are prepared to pay ex gratia EUR 2,000 (two thousand euros) to each applicant, i.e. a total of EUR 10,000 (ten thousand euros), with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights. This sum, which is to cover any damages as well as costs and expenses connected with the case, shall be free of any tax that may be applicable and will be paid in euros, to be converted into Turkish liras at the date of payment, to a bank account named by us. The sum shall be payable within three months from the date of notification of the Court’s decision delivered pursuant to Article 37 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Having duly consulted the applicants, I accept the proposal and waive any further claims against Turkey in respect of the facts of this application. I declare that this constitutes a final resolution of the case.
This declaration is made in the context of a friendly settlement which the Government and the applicants have reached. ...”
The Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties. It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols and finds no public policy reasons to justify a continued examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention). 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 J.-P. Costa
ATALAY AND OTHERS v. TURKEY DECISION
ATALAY AND OTHERS v. TURKEY DECISION