EGMR: Deputy Prefect’s transfer from the capital to a provincial posting was unjustified

von Dr. Georg Neureither

In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of Sodan v. Turkey (application no. 18650/05) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial within a reasonable time) of the Convention. The case concerned the applicant’s transfer from his senior post within the governor’s office in the capital to a similar post in the provinces following a report on his conduct pointing out that his wife wore an Islamic veil and that he himself had an introverted personality.

The Court found in particular that the decision to transfer Mr Sodan to an equivalent post in a city which was less important in administrative terms had been based on reasons relating to his private life. Even supposing that that interference had been prescribed by law and pursued one of the legitimate aims set out in Article 8 of the Convention, the Court considered that it had not been necessary in a democratic society. The Court observed that the impugned proceedings had lasted in excess of six years and two months, which period of time did not meet the “reasonable time” requirement.

Principal facts

The applicant, Ramazan Sodan, is a Turkish national who was born in 1952 and lives in Ankara (Turkey). He was deputy governor of Ankara at the relevant time.

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 ...

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