Turkish national was refused naturalisation due to his conviction and prison sentence in Turkey

The Higher Administrative Court in Mannheim rejected the appeal of a Turkish national wanting to become a naturalised German citizen due to his conviction by a Turkish court and nine-year prison sentence in 2012.

The plaintiff, who has lived in Germany since 1973 and has a permanent residence permit in Germany, applied for naturalisation in July 2012. However, in December 2012 he was convicted in absentia under Turkish law of involuntary manslaughter and bodily injury caused by negligence. He was sentenced to a fine and nine years in prison. A Turkish jury found that he had caused a traffic collision with several deaths and injured in January 2005.

The plaintiff’s application to become a naturalised citizen was initially rejected due to this conviction. After he lost his legal action in the Administrative Court appealing the decision, he filed an appeal with the 12th Senate of the Higher Administrative Court, which he has now lost as well.

The appeals court concluded that the prison sentence given by the Turkish court prevents his naturalisation because the crime that the appellant was convicted of in Turkey would also have been an indictable offence in Germany. Furthermore, the court was of the opinion that the conviction occurred as a result of Turkish judicial proceedings determined by the rule of law and the sentence was not disproportionate to the crime.

The Higher Administrative Court concluded that the offence that led to his sentence in Turkey was also an indictable offence under German law, as he would have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and bodily injury caused by negligence in Germany as well. Moreover, the court determined the plaintiff had been given due process in the foreign judicial proceedings and he had been given the opportunity to defend himself during the criminal proceedings. It held the fact that his criminal conviction was made in absentia did not make the proceedings contrary to the rule of law. The nine-year sentence also had not been disproportionate to the crime. An infringement of the principle of due process is only considered to exist if the legal provision would lead to intolerable outcomes, as would be the case if the prescribed penalty for the punishable offence were cruel, inhuman or humiliating in terms of its nature and length. This was not the case in this instance.

Translated from German into English by Rosa Foyle