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Salman v. Turkey

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Where a person was taken into custody in good health and died, the obligation on the authorities to account for his treatment was particularly stringent. The burden of proof was on the authorities to provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation for the death. In the case of the death of the applicant's husband who was taken into custody in apparent good health, without any pre-existing injuries or active illness, no plausible explanation had been provided by the Turkish Government for his injuries and death. Further, the Turkish authorities had failed to carry out an effective investigation into the circumstances of the death. While a proper autopsy investigation was of critical importance in determining the facts surrounding the death, this procedure was defective and no efforts appeared to have been made to identify those officers who did or could have ill-treated the applicant's husband prior to his death. Moreover, having regard to the nature and degree of the ill-treatment and to the strong inferences that it occurred during interrogation, it involved very serious and cruel suffering that could be characterised as torture. The applicant had therefore been denied an effective remedy in respect of the death of her husband and thereby access to any other available remedies at her disposal, including a claim for compensation.


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