Judgment (Merits and Just Satisfaction) of Court (Fourth Section), June 11, 2002 (case CASE OF SADAK AND OTHERS v. TURKEY (No. 2))

Defense:TURKEY (No. 2)
Resolution Date:June 11, 2002
Issuing Organization:Court (Fourth Section)

Violation of P1-3 Not necessary to examine Art. 7 9 10 11 14 Not necessary to examine P1-1 Not necessary to examine Art. 6-1 Pecuniary damage - financial award Non-pecuniary damage - financial award Costs and expenses partial award




(Applications nos. 25144/94, 26149/95 to 26154/95, 27100/95 and 27101/95)



11 June 2002



This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention.

In the case of Sadak and Others v. Turkey (no. 2),

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:

             Sir              Nicolas Bratza, President,              Mr              M. Pellonpää,              Mr              A. Pastor Ridruejo,              Mr              J. Makarczyk,              Mr              R. Türmen,              Mrs              V. Strážnická,              Mr              S. Pavlovschi, judges,and Mr M. O'Boyle, Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 21 May 2002,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:


  1. The case originated in nine applications (nos. 25144/94, 26149/95 to 26154/95, 27100/95 and 27101/95) against the Republic of Turkey lodged with the European Commission of Human Rights (“the Commission”) under former Article 25 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by thirteen Turkish nationals, Mr Selim Sadak, Mr Sedat Yurttaş, Mr Mehmet Hatip Dicle, Mr Sırrı Sakık, Mr Orhan Doğan, Mrs Leyla Zana, Mr Ahmet Türk, Mr Nizamettin Toguç, Mr Naif Güneş, Mr Mahmut Kılınç, Mr Zübeyir Aydar, Mr Ali Yiğit, and Mr Remzi Kartal (“the applicants”), on 23 August 1994 (no. 25144/94) and 16 December 1994 respectively.

  2. The applicants were represented before the Court by Mr H. Kaplan, a lawyer practising in Istanbul, and Mr Y. Alataş, a lawyer practising in Ankara (nos. 25144/94, 27100/95 and 27101/95), and by Mr P. Leach, a lawyer attached to the Kurdish Human Rights Project, a non-governmental organisation based in London (nos. 26149/95 to 26154/95). The Turkish Government (“the Government”) did not designate an Agent for the purposes of the proceedings before the Convention institutions.

  3. The applicants complained that they had been forced to vacate their parliamentary seats following the dissolution of the Democracy Party (“the DEP”) by the Constitutional Court and alleged the violation of Articles 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 11 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.

  4. On 22 May 1995 the Commission decided to join the applications and to give notice of them to the Government.

  5. The applications were transmitted to the Court on 1 November 1998, when Protocol No. 11 to the Convention came into force (Article 5 § 2 of Protocol No. 11).

  6. The applications were allocated to the Third Section of the Court (Rule 52 § 1 of the Rules of Court).

  7. By a decision of 6 January 2000 the Chamber decided that the applications should also be examined under Article 3 of Protocol No. 1.

  8. By a decision of 30 May 2000 the Chamber declared the applications admissible with the exception of application no. 25144/94, which it declared partly inadmissible in so far as it concerned Article 5 of the Convention [Note by the Registry. The Court's decision is obtainable from the Registry].

  9. The applicants and the Government each filed written observations on the merits of the case (Rule 59 § 1). The Chamber decided, after consulting the parties, that no hearing on the merits was required (Rule 59 § 2 in fine). Comments were also received from a non-governmental organisation in London, Interights – The International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights, which had been given leave by the President to intervene in the written procedure (Article 36 § 2 of the Convention and Rule 61 § 3).

  10. On 1 November 2001 the Court changed the composition of its Sections (Rule 25 § 1). These cases were assigned to the newly composed Fourth Section (Rule 52 § 1).



  11. The applicants, who were born in 1954, 1961, 1955, 1957, 1955, 1961, 1942, 1951, 1956, 1946, 1961, 1959 and 1948 respectively, are Turkish nationals. They were members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly and the DEP (Democracy Party – Demokrasi Partisi), a political party which was dissolved by the Constitutional Court on 16 June 1994.

  12. On 7 May 1993 the DEP was founded and the appropriate declaration submitted to the Ministry of the Interior.

  13. On 2 November 1993 Principal State Counsel at the Court of Cassation (“Principal State Counsel”) applied to the Constitutional Court for the DEP to be dissolved. In his application he accused the DEP of having infringed the principles of the Constitution and the law on political parties. He considered that declarations made by various members of the DEP's central committee and its former chairman during two meetings held abroad (at Erbil in Iraq and Bonn in Germany) were likely to undermine the integrity of the State and national unity.

  14. On 1 March 1994 the Constitutional Court decided of its own motion to obtain the oral submissions of certain interested parties. Thus, on 22 March 1994 it took evidence from the applicant Mr Kartal, in his capacity as the vice-chairman of the DEP, and from Mr Kaplan, in his capacity as the party's legal representative.

  15. On 2 March 1994 the Grand National Assembly lifted the parliamentary immunity of some of the DEP's MPs, including that of the applicants, in response to a series of applications made by the public prosecutor at the Ankara National Security Court.

  16. On the same day Mr Dicle and Mr Doğan were arrested as they were leaving parliament, and taken into police custody. On 4 March 1994 the same thing happened to Mr Sakık, Mr Türk and Mrs Zana. The arrest of Mr Yurttaş and Mr Sadak, who had remained inside the parliament building, was prevented by the Speaker of the National Assembly on the ground that they were still members of parliament.

  17. On 16 June 1994 the Constitutional Court ordered the dissolution of the DEP on the ground that it had undermined the territorial integrity of the State and national unity.

  18. The Constitutional Court also declared that the parliamentary seats of all the applicants were forfeited as a secondary measure attending the decision to dissolve the DEP. The measure was not applied to four MPs who had recently left the party.

  19. On the same day, fearful of the consequences of the criminal proceedings brought against them, Mr Toguç, Mr Güneş, Mr Kılınç, Mr Aydar, Mr Yiğit and Mr Kartal went abroad (to Brussels).

  20. On 1 July 1994 Mr Sadak and Mr Yurttaş went to the public prosecutor's office with their lawyer and were placed in custody.

  21. On a later date Principal State Counsel filed submissions in which he accused the applicants of separatism and undermining the integrity of the State, both of these being capital offences under Article 125 of the Criminal Code.

  22. The Ankara National Security Court gave judgment on 8 December 1994. Applying section 8 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (Law no. 3713), it sentenced Mr Sakık to three years' imprisonment for separatist propaganda. Mr Türk, Mr Dicle, Mr Doğan, Mr Sadak and Mrs Zana were each sentenced to fifteen years' imprisonment for membership of an armed gang pursuant to Article 168 of the Criminal Code and Mr Yurttaş was sentenced to seven and a half years' imprisonment for assisting and supporting an armed gang, an offence under Article 169 of the Criminal Code.

  23. On an appeal on points of law by the applicants and Principal State Counsel on 26 October 1995, the Court of Cassation quashed Mr Türk's and Mr Yurttaş's convictions and ordered their release on the ground that they had contravened only section 8 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The Court upheld the...

To continue reading