by Leman ÇELİKASLAN
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on 18 November 2008 as a Chamber composed of:
Ireneu Cabral Barreto,
Işıl Karakaş, judges,
and Sally Dollé, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 4 November 2002,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Ms Leman Çelikaslan, is a Turkish national who was born in 1972 and was serving a prison sentence in Gebze at the time of introducing her application. She was represented before the Court by Ms Eren Keskin and Ms Fatma Karakaş, lawyers practising in Istanbul. The Turkish Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent.
The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties and as they appear from the documents in the file, may be summarised as follows.
On 21 July 1995 the applicant was arrested in Ankara and taken to the anti-terrorism branch of the Ankara Police Headquarters where she was kept in a cell. While she was detained there she was allegedly ill-treated and raped.
On her release from police custody on 2 August 1995 the applicant was brought before a judge at the Ankara State Security Court who ordered her pre-trial detention in prison.
On 8 August 1995 the applicant made a formal complaint against the police officers responsible for the rape and other ill-treatment.
On 17 August 1995 the applicant was taken to a hospital specialising in women’s health problems where she was examined and where a report was drawn up stating that she was still a virgin.
Upon receipt of this report the prosecutor assumed that she had not been raped, and decided not to prosecute any police officers in relation to her complaints.
The applicant, who was unable to overcome the trauma caused by her ordeal, made another official complaint to the Ankara prosecutor on 29 June 2000. The applicant was still being detained in prison at the time.
On 22 May 2002 the Ankara prosecutor decided not to prosecute the police officers allegedly responsible for the rape and other ill-treatment. An objection lodged by the applicant against the decision not to prosecute was rejected by the Kırıkkale Assize Court on 17 July 2002. The Assize Court considered that, having regard to “the nature of the incident, the evidence and the reports in the file” there was not sufficient evidence to bring criminal proceedings.
The applicant complained under Article 3 of the Convention that while she was being detained in police custody she had been raped and subjected to intensive and systematic torture.
Invoking Articles 6 and 13 of the Convention the applicant maintained that the police officers responsible for her ill-treatment and rape had not been prosecuted or punished and that the authorities had not taken her allegations seriously or investigated them adequately. She argued that this failure of the authorities had deprived her of the opportunity to apply for remedies to seek compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage.
By letter dated 29 May 2008 the Government’s observations were sent to the applicant’s representatives, who were requested to submit any observations together with any claims for just satisfaction in reply by 10 July 2008.
By letter dated 1 August 2008, sent by registered post, the applicant’s representatives were notified that the period allowed for submission of the applicant’s observations had expired on 10 July 2008 and that no extension of time had been requested. The applicant’s representatives’ attention was drawn to Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention, which provides that the Court may strike a case out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to the conclusion that the applicant does not intend to pursue the application.
According to the information obtained from the postal authority, the Registry’s letter of 1 August 2008 was delivered to the applicant’s representatives on 8 August 2008. No response to this registered letter has been received from the applicant or her representatives.
The Court considers that, in these circumstances, the applicant may be regarded as no longer wishing to pursue her application, within the meaning of Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 37 § 1 in fine, the Court finds no special circumstances regarding respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols which require the continued examination of the case. In view of the above, it is appropriate to discontinue the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention, and strike the case out of the list.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Sally Dollé Françoise Tulkens