Ethnic and political persecution of Kurdish man in Turkey

Concerning F. K. vs. Denmark for violation of articles 3 and 12 of CAT.

The Committee Against Torture found Denmark had violated CAT articles 3, 12 and 16, with regard to forcibly returning the complainant to Turkey, and also inhumane treatment during his detention in a Danish prison camp for asylum seekers.

The author entered Denmark in November 2010, but first applied for asylum 2 years later. The complainant is Turkish by nationality and Kurdish by ethnicity, but does not recognize his Turkish nationality, since he as a Kurd being oppressed by Turkey. He was set in detention before a complaint to the UN was made, and was by force brought to the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen.

The author was arrested several times throughout the period of 2006 to 2009 and amongst other things subjected to torture by the Turkish authorities. The author asked the Danish Immigration Service about a medical torture examination, but the Danish authorities never allowed for such examination. On the contrary they continued the examination of the author’s asylum application, but describing his information as “physical and psychological assaults”.

Some members of the Board did not believe the author’s story, however it is difficult to see whether they believed the authors claim of being tortured.
In the decision from 2013 the majority of board members of the Refugee Board thus rejected the credibility of the author with first initiating a torture medical examination.
However the refusal of the Danish Refugee Board to do a medical examination had been made by Amnesty International, where their medical examination concluded that the author did have symptoms relating to the torture he had gone through in Turkey.

One of the main reasons to why the author applied for asylum in Denmark is because the author further explains that he back in Turkey joined the PKK and became a member in 2010, however he then ended up leaving PKK. This is why he now also fears retaliation from PKK if returned to Turkey. Further more, he also feared to be forced to fight against other Kurds (PKK), as he back in 2008 was called for military service, but he rejected. In addition, he also fears that because of his Kurdish ethnicity and background he would be subjected to inhumane treatment by the military authorities, if he joined the military service.
Finally he fears that his rejection of performing military service – and his draft evasion by seeking asylum in Europe/Denmark, he would be punished to imprisonment, including inhumane treatment in prison.

However according to the Refugee Board such punishment for his refusal to perform the forced military service is not a violation of his human rights – since the imprisonment is in no way a disproportional punishment. Yet it is on the contrary argued that since Turkey has no alternative service, and since his imprisonment will be followed by force performance of the military service this will amount to torture and inhumane treatment.

Since the Danish authorities doesn’t agree in the decision of allowing the author asylum in Denmark due to his fear of torture and to join the Turkish military service, the Danish authorities decided to try and force the author into the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen in December 2013. Fearing for his persona, life and deportation, the author resisted and cut himself in both arms and several cuts in his torso.
Never the less the prison guards took him half naked and bleeding with handcuff by excessive force and handed him over to the police. The police then drove him to Copenhagen but before reaching the Embassy, they changed their minds and returned him to the prison, with the author still bleeding. He was never sent to a hospital; however he was treated by a nurse back in his prison cell. Consequently, the author then decided to start a hunger strike.

The reason to why the police changed their mind earlier is because the court where this case was set, is not used to lawyers filing an appeal with the High Court on their clients’ cases. When the authors’ lawyer filed an appeal in this case against the order of 12 December 2013 issued by the District Court of Hillerød, they sent back a standard formula stating that the authors’ case was set and he was to be sent to Turkish embassy in Copenhagen since they didn’t receive any appeal from the authors’ lawyer. However on their way to the Embassy, they decided to call the lawyer only to find out that he already had filled an appeal in this case, which is why they had to return.

Consequently, it is argued that the Danish authorities were in violation of CAT article 3 and 12.

24. March 2020

CAT 580/2014
  • Decision: 22. December 2015
  • Comm: Torture