‘Naked Search’ Verdict by Constitutional Court

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  • May 2, 2019
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B.P.O from Medellin, Colombia was sentenced to 25 years in prison in Turkey for importing illegal drugs.

In the application she made at the Constitutional Court because of being subjected to a naked search during her detention, the court ruled that her right to protect her material and spiritual being is violated.

The ruling said that the operation called “inner body examination” can only be performed upon a Public Prosecutor or a judge, and no one other than a doctor or a health officer can perform the operation, according to Article 75 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

She was detained in the airport

B.P.O. came to İstanbul Atatürk Airport on February 8, 2015, by a plane departed from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Security forces began to watch him while she was going through security controls. She was then detained at the exit of the airport.

She was brought to a police station. The police first searched her belongings, then performed a naked search on her. After the police find cocaine on her body, she was sent to Haseki Education and Research Hospital upon a prosecutor’s order. Radiology examination here also found cocaine in her body.

B.P.O was arrested on February 10, 2015, for importing drugs or stimulants. The Bakırköy 11th Heavy Penal Court sentenced her to 25 years in prison and to pay a fine of 704 Turkish liras.

Appealing against the results, B.P.O. said in her petition that “against the method that was stated in the law, she was searched by a security officer, the evidence obtained by this way is against the law, and the court ignored this situation.”

After the Supreme Court of Appeals 9th Penal Chamber rejected her appeal, she applied to the Constitutional Court on December 4, 2015.

She said in her application that “her right to protect her material and spiritual being” is violated and “her right to a fair trial” is violated because she was convicted by evidence that was obtained unlawfully.

No violation of “right to a fair trial”

The Constitutional Court’s verdict dated March 27, 2019, is published on the Official Gazette today (May 2).

The top court unanimously ruled that the person’s right to protect her material and spiritual being which is guaranteed by the first paragraph of Article 17 of the Constitution is violated.

The court also ruled that B.P.O.’s right to a fair trial which is guaranteed by Article 36 of the Constitution is not violated.

The court did not rule for compensation as she did not make such a request.

“Reasonable doubt cannot be a reason for harming one’s dignity”

The Constitutional Court Chair Zühtü Arslan and members Engin Yıldırım and Yusuf Şevki Hakyemez added annotations to the reasoned decision.

Hakyemez said in his annotation, “The existence of reasonable doubt regarding an individual committing an offense cannot be a reason for reaching the evidence that will confirm the doubt in a way that is against the regulations, by offending and insulting the individual, harming her dignity and making her lose self-respect.” (AS/VK)