Turkey: Disabled bomber awaits court decision on prison conditions

A convicted PKK bomber, disabled in an attack on soliders, will find out tomorrow if his human rights complaint against Turkey wil be endorsed by Strasbourg human rights judges.

Boltan v. Turkey (no. 33056/16)

The applicant, Civan Boltan, is a Turkish national who was born in 1991 and is detained in Bolu Prison.

The case concerns his conditions of detention in the light of his disability, as well as the lack of prospects for his eventual release, given that he was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment.

In 2012, Boltan, a member of the PKK, sustained injuries while throwing a bomb at a group of soldiers; his arm was amputated and he lost the sight in his left eye. In 2014 he was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment by judgment upheld by the Court of Cassation.

In February 2015, he requested the adaptation of his conditions of detention to his disability, asking not to be placed in an individual cell as specified in his sentence, so that he could be helped by fellow prisoners in his everyday life.

Two medical reports of March and April 2015 confirmed that his state of health necessitated the assistance of others, but not a stay of execution of his sentence.

His request was rejected in October 2015 by the judge responsible for the sentence enforcement, and subsequently dismissed in October 2015 by the Assize Court.

On 11 December 2015, Boltan appealed to the Constitutional Court on the grounds of the incompatibility of his conditions of detention with his disability.

On 18 May 2016, the Constitutional Court dismissed the applicant’s appeal as being out of time.

Apart from a sixteen-day period, Boltan was detained in collective cells. A medical report drawn up in 2016 also pointed out that his state of health was not an obstacle to the enforcement of his sentence.

Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment), the applicant submits that his placement in an individual cell amounts to inhuman treatment in view of his disability, and that the enforcement of a prison sentence for the rest of his life is incompatible with the provisions of the same Article.

Relying on Article 6 (right to a fair trial), he complains of the lack of an assessment of the merits of his complaint concerning his disability.

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