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The applicants, Emine Mansuroğlu and her husband Şerifali Mansuroğlu, submitted, inter alia, that their son, Mazlum Mansuroğlu, had been unlawfully imprisoned, tortured, and killed by members of the Turkish security forces. They alleged violations of Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Court recalled that as Turkey did not contest that the death was caused by state agents in the course of what they termed a counter-terrorism operation, the burden was on the state to explain the circumstances surrounding the death, to refute the allegations of the applicants, and to demonstrate that the deliberate use of deadly force was absolutely necessary and strictly proportionate to the achievement of one of the goals listed in Art. 2§2 of the Convention.(a) in defence of any person from unlawful violence; (b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained; (c) in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.
The incident took place in a region of Turkey that was subject to a state of emergency, and the Court was prepared to accept that the operation could be based on an ‘honest and plausible belief’ that it was compatible with Art. 2§2. However, the Court was not satisfied, in the light of the evidence presented to it, that the operation had been planned in such a way as to reduce to a minimum the resort to lethal force. (§88) Nor did the Court accept the Turkish Government's argument that there had been an armed clash of such violence as to require the police officers to resort to self-defence. It noted, on the other hand, a number of serious defects in the determination of the source of the fatal shots and found violations of Articles 2 (right to life, procedural and substantive) and 3 (freedom from torture).
The Court noted that in the absence of an official investigation into the legality of the deadly use of force, it could not be established whether the 37 police officers, equipped with assault weapons and explosive weapons, such as grenades, had been instructed as required to take all necessary precautions and that the operation had been planned in such a way as to reduce to a minimum the resort to lethal force.
For the Court, it was impossible to understand how the police could have found it absolutely necessary to respond with such force – bullets and explosive weapons – as to cause numerous extremely serious injuries. (§98)[‘Mansuroğlu v. Turkey [notes]’, Human Rights Case Digest, Vol. 18, Issue 7-8 (2007-2008), pp. 649–54.]
Last updated on: 19 May 2015