Turkey: 700 days on, Osman Kavala must be released and charges against him and 15 others dropped

Ahead of tomorrow’s third hearing in the trial of civil society leader Osman Kavala and 15 others on trumped up charges of ‘attempting to overthrow the government’, Amnesty International’s Andrew Gardner, who will be leading a high-level international delegation to the trial, said:

“We will be in the courtroom in Silivri tomorrow and hope the hearing will rectify the grave injustice of this unfair prosecution. As Osman Kavala marks 708 days behind bars on pre-trial detention, we renew our call for his immediate and unconditional release from jail and for the charges against him and the 15 other civil society figures to be dropped.

Ending this farcical prosecution would be emblematic of a return to the respect of domestic and international human rights protections.
Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International

“Freeing Osman Kavala and ending this farcical prosecution would be emblematic of a return to the respect of domestic and international human rights protections. A further extension of Osman Kavala’s detention would signal the continuation of the shameful attempt to silence independent civil society will continue.

Osman Kavala and 15 others are facing fantastical accusations devoid of any evidence that they were involved in any criminal activity, let alone conspiring to overthrow the government.
Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International

“Osman Kavala and 15 others are facing fantastical accusations devoid of any evidence that they were involved in any criminal activity, let alone conspiring to overthrow the government. It is important to be reminded that the burden of proof is on the prosecuting authorities, and they have utterly failed to meet it.”

Background

Osman Kavala has been in pre-trial detention in the Silivri High Security Prison near Istanbul since 1 November 2017. Co-defendant Yiğit Aksakoğlu was released from pre-trial detention at the end of the first hearing on 25 June 2019 after spending over seven months in prison. 

Osman Kavala, Yiğit Aksakoğlu and 14 others are facing allegations of ‘attempting to overthrow the government of the Turkish republic or to prevent it from performing its duties’.

The third hearing is scheduled for 8 and 9 October, where a high-level Amnesty International representatives will be present including the heads of Amnesty International’s Spanish, Norwegian and Swedish sections.