Abdullah Yasa v. Turkey (Application no. 44827/08)

A selection of key paragraphs can be found below the judgment.


48. In this connection, while it is not even clear from the video recordings how the tear-gas grenade had been launched, in view of its impact and the injuries caused the Court observes that, as maintained by the applicant, it had been a direct, flat-trajectory shot, not a high-angle shot. The Government ought to have conducted the requisite investigations to ascertain how the grenade had been shot, preferably with the help of an expert. Since the Government have failed to produce evidence to refute the applicant’s contentions, the Court accepts that the shot was direct and followed a flat trajectory. In the Court’s view, firing a tear-gas grenade along a direct, flat trajectory by means of a launcher cannot be regarded as an appropriate police action as it could potentially cause serious, or indeed fatal injuries, whereas a high-angle shot would generally constitute the appropriate approach, since it prevents people from being injured or killed in the event of an impact.

49. Moreover, the Court observes that at the time of the facts Turkish law lacked any specific provisions on the use of tear-gas grenades during demonstrations, and did not lay down instructions for their utilisation. Given that during the events in Diyarbakır between 28 and 31 March 2006 two persons were killed by tear-gas grenades and that the applicant was injured on the same occasion, it may be deduced that the police officers were able to act very independently and take ill-considered initiatives, which would probably not have been the case if they had been given appropriate training and instructions. In the Court’s view, such a situation is incompatible with the level of protection of the physical integrity of individuals which is required in contemporary democratic societies in Europe. 


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