European Court of Human Rights declines religious group’s application against Türkiye

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has declined an application by religious group the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light for interim measures against Türkiye following that country’s detention of 101 members of the group who were pulled back while trying to cross the border into Bulgaria in May 2023 to apply for asylum.

On July 11, the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light submitted an application to the ECHR, with a 72-page document detailing the persecution the 101 detained members of the faith endured in their countries of origin because of their religion, as well as serious human rights violations enacted upon them by Turkish authorities and in detention, the religious group said.

“The appalling conditions that 101 members of a persecuted religious minority are held under in detention in Turkey, including 22 children and other vulnerable individuals, have just been overlooked by the European Court of Human Rights,” the religious group said in a statement, reacting to the court’s decision.

It said that those detained “after being violently prevented from applying for asylum at the Bulgarian border, were subjected to extreme violence at the hands of the Turkish border police, they were subsequently detained and deportation orders were issued against them”.

“In detention, the group (that includes 22 children aged from 1 to 17, and at least 27 elderly or sick adults) endured severe beatings and threats of sexual violence from the Turkish gendarmerie, and ill-treatment, intimidation, and medical neglect in the Edirne removal centre.”

The group had asked the ECHR to order an independent medical examination of the detained members and an independent monitoring of their conditions of detention. The request subsequently focused on the need to release the detained members from detention or, at the very least, the vulnerable individuals among them, the statement said.

On July 21 2023 a letter came from a duty judge of the European Court of Human Rights informing the group of the court’s decision not to indicate to the Government of Türkiye the interim measure requested in respect of the applicants’ administrative detention. No reasoning for this refusal was provided, the group said.

“The flat and unreasoned refusal by the Court to grant any kind of measure in respect of the conditions of the Applicants’ detention is in contrast with the ECHR’s established case law concerning violations of Article 3 ECHR on conditions of detention, and particularly with the case law concerning the detention of children, whose vulnerability takes precedence over any consideration related to their status (e.g. Mubilanzila Mayeka and Kaniki Mitunga v. Belgium, 2006; Muskhadzhiyeva and Others v. Belgium, 2010; Popov v. France, 2012; A.B. and Others v. France, 2016; G.B. and Others v. Turkey, 2019), and with general considerations of fairness and humanity,” the statement said.

Contacted by The Sofia Globe for comment, the ECHR said: “We can confirm that the Court has refused the request for interim measures in this case. There is no more information that we can give at this time”.

(Photo: CherryX)

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