Turkey: Human rights judges reject father’s complaint alleging son’s circumcision was botched

A complaint against Turkey concerning a botched circumcision has been rejected by human rights judges.

The applicant, S.A., is a Turkish national who was born in 1963 and lives in Eskişehir.

On 12 September 2003, his 11-year-old son was circumcised at the Eskişehir Civil Hospital. The applicant claimed that the incision made during the procedure was larger than necessary.

He lodged a criminal complaint against the doctor who performed the operation and a criminal investigation was opened.

On 10 December 2003, the Eskişehir Forensic Institute issued a medical report confirming the findings of a first report, which had observed that there had been no surgical error. On the basis of these medical reports, the public prosecutor ordered the discontinuance of the criminal proceedings and the Assize Court confirmed that decision.

On 6 February 2004, an internal administrative investigation for disciplinary purposes was opened by the Eskişehir Governor’s Office, following which it refused to issue an authorisation to bring proceedings against the hospital staff. In July 2004 Mr S.A. brought a compensation claim against the administration and it was dismissed.

On 13 September 2004, S.A. applied to the Eskişehir Administrative Court alleging that his son was suffering from disorders and sought compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage.

The Administrative Court ordered a medical assessment and, after considering the findings of the report, concluded that there was no professional negligence attributable to the authority.

The Supreme Administrative Court upheld that judgment.

In its 15 February decision in the case of S.A. v. Turkey (application no. 62299/09) the European Court of Human Rights has unanimously declared the application inadmissible. The decision is final.

Taking the view that it was not appropriate to call into question the facts as established by the national authorities or the conclusions reached by them, the Court found that the domestic courts’ decision to dismiss the applicant’s claims had neither been arbitrary nor unreasonable.

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