Turkey:  Osman Kavala release must herald an end to the crackdown on civil society

Following the acquittal of Osman Kavala and eight other defendants in the so-called ‘Gezi trial’, Amnesty International’s Turkey Campaigner, Milena Buyum said:

“Today’s decision is hugely welcome and confirms what has been clear to the entire world for more than two years.

“The only just verdict in this baseless case, devoid of any substance, was always going to be the wholesale acquittal of those who stood trial, but in today’s Turkey this was far from guaranteed.

After almost two and a half years in prison, it is wonderful that Osman Kavala will finally walk free. While the injustice of his lengthy incarceration cannot be erased, this remains a huge relief for civil society in Turkey.

“Today’s judgement was a touchstone for Turkish justice and we hope it signals a shift in political climate in the country and brings to an end these politically motivated prosecutions. We also hope this decision bodes well ahead of tomorrow’s critical verdict for 11 human rights activists, including former Amnesty leaders, who face sentences of up to 15 years.

“It is time for Turkey to end the relentless crackdown on dissenting voices and acquit all those facing trumped up political charges.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact press@amnesty.org or call +90 212 361 62 17-18 or +90 531 105 42 67, +44 (0) 20 7413 5566