Top court rejects former inmate’s petition over violation of right to communicate with family

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Turkey’s Constitutional Court has found inadmissible a petition from a former inmate who claimed that his right to communicate with his family had been violated in prison, the bianet news website reported on Friday.

The court unanimously deemed the application of H.Ö. regarding his freedom to communicate with family members “inadmissible.”

H.Ö. applied to the Constitutional Court after his appeal to a local court regarding the confiscation of his letters and faxes by the administration of Silivri Prison was rejected.

H.Ö. was arrested on charges of membership in a terrorist organization on July 17, 2016, two days after a failed coup. The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the coup attempt, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

On Aug. 12, 2016, the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that that suspects who were jailed as part of investigations into the Gülen movement should be banned from engaging in written communication during a state of emergency declared by the Turkish government in the aftermath of the abortive putsch.

H.Ö. applied to a court in Silivri against the ban, which rejected his appeal on the grounds that an examination of the ban was not within their jurisdiction. The Silivri High Criminal Court also rejected H.Ö.’s appeal against the verdict on July 24, 2017.

H.Ö. applied to the Constitutional Court on Sept. 6, 2017, stating that both his right to communicate with his family and his right to the enjoyment of family life were violated because of the restriction imposed on his visitors.

H.Ö. was released from jail pending trial on Nov. 10, 2017 with an interim ruling made by the İstanbul 29th High Criminal Court.

The ban on written communication issued by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office was removed on Feb. 27, 2018.

The justification for the ruling of the Constitutional Court was published in the Official Gazette on Friday. The court ruled that the appeal was inadmissible on the grounds that not all legal remedies had been exhausted and that the ban was removed.

The court also deemed “the claim regarding the violation of the right to enjoyment of family life” inadmissible on the grounds that it was clearly unfounded.

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