Osman Kavala, Amnesty International Osman Kavala, Amnesty International

Turkey: Osman Kavala and co-defendants must be acquitted of all charges

Ahead of the expected verdict in the case of human rights defender Osman Kavala and seven other defendants on 22 April, Nils Muižnieks, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, said:

“This politically motivated charade has already seen Osman Kavala arbitrarily imprisoned for more than four-and-a-half years for no other reason than his civil society activism and dispels any lingering doubts about the hollowness of the Turkish justice system.

“Since November 2017, the sole concern of the authorities has been to deprive Osman Kavala of his freedom with utter disregard for fair trial standards. The prosecuting authorities have continually failed to provide any evidence to substantiate the baseless charges of attempting to overthrow the government. The only just outcome in the case is the acquittal of Osman Kavala and all the defendants and their immediate and unconditional release from prison.”

“This verdict comes three months after the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers took the rare decision to begin the formal process of infringement against Turkey over its failure to release Osman Kavala. The stakes could not be greater for all those who care about justice.”

BACKGROUND

In his final opinion, the prosecutor requested that Osman Kavala and Mücella Yapıcı — one of his co-defendants, who served as the spokesperson of Taksim Solidarity at the time of the Gezi Park protests — be found guilty of “attempting to overthrow the government”. They face a possible aggravated life sentence.

Turkey is only the second country to face infringement proceedings for failing to implement a binding ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.