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European Court of Human Rights Finds Turkey Guilty of Human Rights Violations
2008-06-26 08:54:49

Nicosia, June 24 - The European Court of Human Rights has found Turkey guilty of human rights violations in two cases Cypriots had brought before the Court.

The Court unanimously ruled that Ankara is guilty of violating Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect to the killings of Anastasios Isaak and Solomos Solomou.

The Court also ruled that Turkey is guilty of violating Article 2 in respect of the failure to conduct an effective investigation into the circumstances in which Anastasios Isaak and Solomos Solomou were killed.

Under Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the Convention, the Court awarded 80,000 euro to Anastasios Isaak’s widow for pecuniary damage. In respect of non-pecuniary damage, the Court awarded 35,000 euro each to Anastasios Isaak’s widow, his parents, and to Solomos Solomou’s father, and also 15,000 euro to each of Anastasios Isaak’s and Solomos Solomou’s siblings. The applicants in both cases were also awarded 12,000 euro for costs and expenses.

The two applications were filed to the Court by the families of Anastasios Isaak and Solomos Solomou, both of whom were murdered by Turkish or Turkish Cypriots during demonstrations in 1996.

The 25-year-old Anastasios Isaak was kicked and beaten to death by Turkish and Turkish-Cypriots on 11 August 1996, while taking part in an anti-occupation demonstration in the area of Dherynia, on the east of the island. A group of about 15-20 people surrounded Mr. Isaak and threw him to the ground. He was then repeatedly kicked and beaten with metal and wooden batons. A post-mortem report concluded that the cause of Mr. Isaak’s death was “multiple head trauma”. The killing took place in the UN-controlled buffer zone, which separates the northern Turkish occupied north from the southern government controlled part of the country.

Solomos Solomou, then aged 26, was killed on 14 August 1996, after he entered the buffer zone with other demonstrators near the spot of Mr. Isaak’s killing and, in protest, climbed up a flagpole flying the Turkish flag. He was unarmed. He was shot and killed by Turkish snipers while trying to remove the Turkish flag from its mast. The killing happened after the funeral of his cousin Anastasios Isaak.

The appeals to ECHR against Turkey were based on Articles 2 (right to life), 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination), whilst in the case of Solomou was also based on Articles 1 (obligation to respect human rights) and 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment).

Turkey has continued to occupy 37 per cent of the north of the island of Cyprus following its illegal invasion of 1974, and has defied countless UN resolutions to withdraw its troops from the island.

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