ECtHR holds life sentence without review amounts to inhuman punishment

Tuesday 15 September 2015

The European Court of Human Rights has held that the imposition under Turkish law of a life sentence without the possibility of review violated Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 3 prohibits torture, and ‘inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’.

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The applicant, Hayati Kaytan, is currently serving a life sentence following his conviction in 2004 for seeking to destroy the unity of the Turkish State and to remove part of the country from the State’s control.

The Court stated that although release on health grounds is foreseen in Turkish law, such a possibility does not correspond to a review of whether detention is still justified on “legitimate penological grounds”. Richard Reynolds drafted the Applicant’s submissions on the incompatibility of his irreducible life sentence with Article 3.

More information can be found in the judgment and in the Court’s press release.

Richard Reynolds is a member of Garden Court Chambers International Advice and Litigation Team. Richard was instructed by Catriona Vine of the Democratic Progress Institute.


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