Top Turkish court says activist’s rights violated during custody

Top Turkish court says activist’s rights violated during custody
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Turkish Constitutional Court said police used excessive pepper spray during the custody of Veli Sacilik and ordered to restart an investigation against the police officers

The Constitutional Court (AYM) in Turkey considered the failure to conduct an effective investigation into the police custody of an activist in Ankara and his injury during the police intervention as a violation of rights and decided that compensation should be paid.

Veli Sacilik, who later campaigned but failed to become a deputy from the HDP, was brutally taken into custody with an excessive use of pepper gas in 2018. His "right to assembly and demonstration" and the "prohibition of treatment incompatible with human dignity" have been violated, according to the AYM verdict which said that he will be paid TL10.000 as compensation.

Veli Sacilik had attended a demonstration to support activists who demanded their job back after being expelled with a government decree that served the government to purge academics, civil servants and teachers after a coup attempt in 2016. Sacilik himself had lost his job as a sociologist in the government during the purge and become a symbol of the opposition.

During the demonstration, police officers detained a group of 10 protesters and put them in the police van. When Veli Sacılık tried to intervene, the police pepper sprayed him inside the police van on his face in close range, damaging his eye.

Veli Sacilik has always been a well known personality among activists in Turkey. In 2000, three years after being arrested in a workers’ union demonstration, Sacilik lost his right arm during a crackdown on hunger strikers in prisons around the country, when a bulldozer demolished a prison wall.