CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING: Non-Pecuniary Damages to be Paid to Pregnant Student Kicked by Police Officers

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  • June 19, 2019
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“I am a woman, pregnant and protesting; who cares?”

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The Constitutional Court has given its judgement regarding the application of a woman who was kicked by a police officer during a protest demonstration though she said that she was pregnant.

Announcing its justified ruling, the court has found the application of E.Ö. justified and concluded that “the prohibition of ill treatment” as per the Article 17/3 of the Constitution and “the right to assembly and demonstration” as guaranteed by the Article 34 of the Constitution have been violated.

While the case file of E.Ö. will be referred to the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office so that the incident can be investigated again, the Constitutional Court has also ruled that E.Ö. shall be paid 17 thousand 500 Turkish Lira (TRY) in non-pecuniary damages.

What happened?

19-year-old student E.Ö., who was a member of the Youth Union (Genç-Sen) affiliated with the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK), went to Kabataş, İstanbul to attend a protest demonstration against the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) meeting to be held in Prime Ministry Office in Kabataş on December 4, 2010.

After the group started marching towards the office in Dolmabahçe, the police intervened against them. Filing a criminal complaint three days after this intervention, E.Ö. stated that she was caught by a police officer while trying to evade the pepper gas, the police officer battered her with a truncheon even though she told him that she was pregnant and a group of other officers also kicked her afterwards. She added that she suffered a miscarriage as a result of this incident.

In the medical report prepared by the Medical Faculty of İstanbul University, it was indicated that the trauma that E.Ö. was subjected to led to her miscarriage and she needed treatment. However, in the report prepared by the Forensic Medicine Institute upon the request of the Prosecutor’s Office, it was stated that “no causal connection could be found.”

Depending on the medical report of the Forensic Medicine Institute, the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office gave a verdict of non-prosecution on June 18, 2014. After the 1st Penal Court of Peace rejected the objection of of E.Ö. on July 20, 2015, the case was taken to the Constitutional Court.

Justified ruling: Her complaint was not investigated

Releasing its justified ruling today (June 19), the Constitutional Court has indicated that the criminal complaint of E.Ö. was not effectively investigated.

Concluding that “the prohibition of ill treatment” and “the right to assembly and demonstration” have been violated, the court has ruled that non-pecuniary damages shall be paid to E.Ö. and her case file shall be sent to the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for re-investigation. (AS/SD)