The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers has once again called on Turkey to release prominent businessman and activist Osman Kavala from prison immediately.
In its interim resolution on Dec. 3, the Committee found that Turkey failed to challenge the strong presumption that Kavala’s current detention is a continuation of the violations found by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and regretted the lack of action by the Constitutional Court on Kavala’s case.
The Committee said that it was profoundly concerned that Kavala has been continuously deprived of his liberty since October 2017.
Kavala was first detained in October 2017, remanded in pre-trial detention on Nov. 1, 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 Dec. 18.
The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, tasked with monitoring the implementation of ECHR judgments, considered the Kavala vs Turkey judgment for the first time in Sept. 2020 as Osman Kavala completed 34 months held in pre-trial detention.
In 2019, the ECHR 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 paralyze civil society in the country” and violated the European Convention on Human Rights, a ruling which was confirmed in May 2020.
Amnesty International’s Europe Director Nils Muižnieks commented on the interim resolution by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, saying it "sends a clear message to the Turkish authorities that Kavala's 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,” Muižnieks said.