Turkey: New resolution on Osman Kavala makes clear his detention must end immediately
Following the strongly worded interim resolution by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers demanding Turkey release Osman Kavala from prison immediately, Amnesty International’s Europe Director Nils Muižnieks said:
“Almost a year to the day after the European Court for Human Rights issued a binding judgment finding that the detention of Osman Kavala is politically motivated, today’s resolution demanding his immediate release sends a clear message to the Turkish authorities that his continued imprisonment cannot and will not be tolerated.
A year almost to the day after the ECHR judgment today’s resolution sends a clear message to the Turkish authorities that his continued imprisonment cannot and will not be tolerated
“Today’s resolution and last year’s Court judgment cannot be brushed aside by the Turkish authorities. Their continuing refusal to comply with the ruling and Osman Kavala’s continued imprisonment – which is now in its fourth year – are unlawful. Each day Osman Kavala spends behind bars is yet another confirmation of the ulterior motive behind his imprisonment.
“The Turkish authorities have no choice but to release Osman Kavala and drop the criminal proceedings against him. Anything less would be a further breach of his human rights and yet another shameful stain on Turkey’s already broken justice system.”
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The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, tasked with monitoring the implementation of European Court of Human Rights judgments, considered the Kavala v Turkey judgment for the first time in September 2020 as Osman Kavala completed 34 months held in pre-trial detention. Last year on Human Rights Day (10 December), the Strasbourg Court found that Osman Kavala’s extended detention had an “ulterior purpose, namely to reduce him to silence as an NGO activist and human rights defender, to dissuade other persons from engaging in such activities and to paralyse civil society in the country” and violated the European Convention on Human Rights, a ruling which was confirmed in May 2020.
In its interim resolution, the Committee of Ministers additionally found that Turkey failed to challenge the strong presumption that Kavala’s current detention is a continuation of the violations found by the Court and regretted the lack of action by the Constitutional Court on Kavala’s case.
Prominent civil society figure Osman Kavala was first detained in October 2017, remanded in pre-trial detention on 1 November 2017 and has been behind bars ever since. In February 2020, he was acquitted of all charges in the Gezi trial. In October, a new prosecution accusing him of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and espionage was accepted by an Istanbul Court. The first hearing in the trial is set for 18 December.