EGMR: Forthcoming judgment on Tuesday 2 February 2016 – Sodan v. Turkey (no. 18650/05)

The applicant, Ramazan Sodan, is a Turkish national who was born in 1952 and lives in Ankara. He was deputy governor of Ankara at the relevant time. The case concerns Mr Sodan’s transfer from his senior post with the governor’s office following a report on his conduct, and his complaints regarding his freedom of thought, conscience and religion and respect for his private life.

On 16 June 1998 an inspector with the governor’s office was instructed to carry out an investigation into Mr Sodan’s general conduct, in particular on the basis of two circulars, one concerning separatism and the other concerning fundamentalism among senior officials in the governor’s office. In his analysis the inspector conducting the investigation stated that Mr Sodan’s wife wore an Islamic veil and that Mr Sodan himself had an introverted personality which had a negative impact on the performance of his duties with the governor’s office, since senior members of the office had to be “model citizens with a modern appearance and outlook”. In conclusion, the inspector’s report proposed that Mr Sodan be moved to a different department or to a post in central administration not entailing any public role. Mr Sodan was not questioned at any stage of the investigation.

On 23 July Mr Sodan was transferred to the post of deputy governor in Gaziantep. On 31 July he lodged an application with the Supreme Administrative Court to have that decision set aside. After his application was rejected he lodged an appeal on points of law with the Supreme Administrative Court, without success.

Relying on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and Article 9 (right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion), Mr Sodan alleges that his transfer infringed his right to respect for his private life and his right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Under Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time), he alleges a violation of his right to a fair hearing on account of the length of the judicial proceedings. Relying on Article 7 (no punishment without law), he maintains that his transfer was in breach of domestic law.

Press release ECHR 034 (2016) 27/01/2016

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