Equal treatment for remand and convicted prisoners: Gülay Çetin v. Turkey

This guest post was written by Cedric De Koker, academic assistant at the Institute for International Research on Criminal Policy (IRCP), Ghent University.

With its judgment in the case of Gülay Çetin v. Turkey, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)  added another chapter to its significant body of detention-related case law. Having to pronounce on the issue of whether the continued detention of Mrs. Gülay Çetin, a retired auditor diagnosed with metastatic gastric cancer, infringed upon the European Convention on Human Rights, the ECtHR held unanimously that the Turkish government had violated article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), taken alone and in conjunction with article 14 (prohibition of discrimination). Perhaps the most striking feature of the ruling relates to the fact that the ECtHR concluded that the applicant had been discriminated against while she was in pre-trial detention, as she had not been entitled to the same protective measures as convicted inmates with serious illnesses. As it was the first time that the Court explicitly mentioned discrimination between remand and convicted prisoners, the judgment could and most likely will have its repercussions for the administration of prisons.

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