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Turkey found guilty of human rights violations in Cyprus
2003-02-24 01:31:53

Nicosia, Feb 21 (CNA) -- The European Court of Human Rights has found Turkey guilty of violating the human right of Turkish Cypriot doctor Ahmet Djavit An to peaceful assembly by refusing him permission to visit Cyprus' southern government-controlled areas and the UN-controlled buffer zone to meet with Greek Cypriots.

The Court ordered Turkey to pay 15,000 euros for non pecuniary damages and 4,715 for costs and expenses. The decision about the violation of two articles of the European Convention of Human Rights was taken by six votes to one, that of the Turkish judge sitting at the bench.|

The Court said that between 8 March 1992 and 14 April 1998 only six out of 46 requests for such permits were granted.

The applicant complained that the refusals by the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot regime to allow him to cross into southern Cyprus and participate in bi- communal meetings breached three articles of the European Convention for Human Rights.

The Court dismissed Turkish claims that Ankara has no responsibility for events in the areas of Cyprus it occupies and said that it was obvious from the large number of troops engaged in active duties in northern Cyprus that the Turkish army exercised effective control over that part of the island. Such control entailed her responsibility for the policies and actions of the Turkish Cypriot regime.

The Court dismissed the Turkish government's argument that domestic remedies had not been exhausted, finding that the government had not shown that any of the remedies it had suggested would have afforded redress in any way whatsoever to the applicant.

The Court emphasised however that its ruling was not to be interpreted as a general statement that remedies were ineffective in the Turkish Cypriot regime or that applicants were absolved from having normal recourse to remedies that were available and functioning.

The Court considered that all the meetings the applicant wished to attend were designed to promote dialogue and an exchange of ideas and opinions between Turkish Cypriots living in the north and Greek Cypriots living in the south, with the hope of securing peace on the island.

The refusals to grant these permits to the applicant in effect barred his participation in bi-communal meetings, preventing him from peacefully assembling with people from both communities.

Accordingly, the Court concluded that there had been an interference with the applicant's rights to freedom of peaceful assembly.

The manner in which restrictions were imposed on the applicant's exercise of his freedom of assembly was not ''prescribed by law''.

CNA MM/GP/2003

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