Türkiye: Upholding sentence against Osman Kavala and four other Gezi defendants a ‘devastating politically-motivated blow’

Responding to the decision of Türkiye’s highest court to uphold a life sentence against Osman Kavala and 18-year jail sentences against Çiğdem Mater, Can Atalay, Mine Özerden and Tayfun Kahraman; Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for Europe, Ruth Tanner, said:

“This appalling decision is a devastating politically-motivated blow for human rights. Whilst it may effectively mark the end of the appeals process for Osman Kavala, it marks the beginning of a new phase of our campaign to demand his release, and that of Çiğdem Mater, Can Atalay, Mine Özerden, Tayfun Kahraman.

“The appeal court’s decision defies all logic given that the prosecuting authorities have repeatedly failed to provide any evidence to substantiate the baseless charges laid against them. It shows that the Gezi trial only ever served as an attempt to silence independent voices.

“With this judicial decision, this Turkish court has openly undermined the ECHR protection system and blatantly violated the Strasbourg Court’s rulings in favour of Osman Kavala’s release.

“Osman Kavala, who turns 66 next week, has been arbitrarily imprisoned for more than five years for his activism. We cannot, and will not, be silenced in our call for Osman Kavala and the Gezi Park Prisoners of Conscience to be immediately released.”


Amnesty welcomes the fact that the convictions of three other defendants – Mücella Yapıcı Hakan Altınay and Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi – were overturned. The indictment relating to their case will be returned to the lower court to be considered for a retrial.

The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has repeatedly called for Osman Kavala’s release in line with the ECtHR ruling. Türkiye has ignored this legally-binding decision and refused to release him, which led to case being referred back to the European Court, initiating infringement proceedings.