Stefan Simanowitz @StefSimanowitz

Turkey: Authorities urged: “Do the right thing and free Osman Kavala”

Ahead of the start of the trial tomorrow of imprisoned civil society leader Osman Kavala, Amnesty International have called for his immediate and unconditional release and for all charges against him to be dropped.

More than three years after he was jailed and a year after the European Court of Human Rights ruled he should be released, the organisation is reminding the Turkish authorities that it is not too late to do the right thing. Having been acquitted of organising and financing the Gezi protests, Osman Kavala now faces charges of ‘espionage’ and ‘attempting to overthrow the constitutional order, in relation to the 2016 coup attempt.

Osman Kavala is facing baseless, politically motivated charges in a prosecution which is part of a wider attempt by Turkish authorities to silence independent civil society

Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Nils Muižniek

Earlier this week, the Constitutional Court failed issue its long-awaited ruling regarding the legality of Osman Kavala’s ongoing pre-trial detention, referring it to its General Council instead. This is the second time the Constitutional Court scheduled Kavala’s application, only to defer the decision.

“Osman Kavala is facing more baseless, politically motivated charges in a prosecution which is part of a wider attempt by Turkish authorities to silence independent civil society. Osman Kavala should not have spent a single minute behind bars, let alone more than three years in pre-trial detention,” said Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Nils Muižniek.

“Earlier this year Osman Kavala was acquitted of one charge, only then to be accused of ‘espionage’ in a barely concealed attempt to circumvent a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that his detention was unlawful.
“This only useful decision that can come out of the hearing tomorrow is the court ruling to end this travesty of justice, do the right thing and free Osman Kavala.”

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