Prosecutor’s Office Didn’t Investigate ‘Illegal Wiretapping Upon Anonymous Notification’

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  • November 7, 2019
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The Constitutional Court has ruled that phone tapping over anonymous notifications violated rights and the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office did not investigate the role of the Directorate of Telecommunication and Communication in the tappings.

The Constitutional Court decided that the freedom of communication of U.B., whose phones were tapped upon requests by specially authorized prosecutors over anonymous notifications.

U.B. found out five years ago from a newspaper report that his/her phones were tapped. His/her criminal complaint processed but the Security Directorate said that the Directorate of Telecommunication and Communication (TIB), which was active at the time, was responsible for listening to the phones.

Prosecutor's Office did not conduct any investigation on the TIB closed the file.

The Constitutional Court decision stated that "the obligation of the state to establish an effective judicial system necessitates a criminal investigation" and this investigation was not conducted.

Specially authorized prosecutors tapped phones over "anonymous notifications"

U.B., a public officer in Trabzon province, found out from a newspaper report that his/her phones were tapped.

According to the report dated March 18, 2014, the names of numerous unrelated persons in 30 cities were included in notice letters and attached to investigation files for reasons such as "terrorist activity", "organized crime group" or "drug trade" by the special prosecutors of the period and court decisions were issued for tapping their phones.

U.B. found out that his/her name was on the list published in the report and his/her phone was tapped between January 18, 2013 and July 10, 2014. U.B.'s other mobile phone was also tapped for an unspecified period of time over "actions related to the People's Liberation Party and Front of Turkey (THKP-C) and Devrimci Yol (DEV-YOL) groups."

Immediately applying to the prosecutor's office, U.B. filed a criminal complaint for the identification and penalization of those responsible. The prosecutor's office started an investigation of "violation of private life."

Security Directorate said "Ask the TIB," prosecutor closed the case

In the letter sent to the Trabzon Provincial Security Directorate as part of the investigation, it was asked to record the evidence and make the necessary investigation.

But the Trabzon Provincial Security Directorate said in the letter it sent to the prosecutor's office that "there is no work done on detecting, listening to, evaluating or recording signal information of communication through telecommunications." It said that those operations were conducted from a single-center, TIB, which was abolished, and it should be asked for information.

The prosecutor's office decided not to prosecute U.B.'s complaint without further investigation and without requesting information from TIB.

Constitutional Court: Data to be obtained from TIB would play a key role

The reasoned decision of the Constitutional Court was announced today, and it was ruled that the procedural aspect of the freedom of communication guaranteed in Article 22 of the Constitution was violated. The decision will be sent to the Trabzon Chief Public Prosecutor's Office for retrial (investigation) to eliminate the consequences of the violation.

In the reasoned decision, it was stated that the prosecutor's office conducting the investigation did not request information from TIB about the tapping of the phones by ignoring the information given to it by the Security Directorate and therefore "the investigation was not carried out in a rigorous and effective manner:

"It is clear that the data to be obtained from TIB will play a key role in clarifying the subject matter of the investigation and in order to determine whether there is a situation that the communication was illegally controlled as alleged. In this case, with the incident being clarified, it will be possible to identify and punish those responsible, if any, and the applicant will be able to open new lawsuits against those responsible and compensate for their damages.

The Constitutional Court concluded that an effective and rigorous investigation was not carried out in a way that guarantees constitutional rights because the information and documents that play a key role in the investigation were not investigated by the Chief Public Prosecutor and the investigation was not deepened.

Source: English Bianet