Eight European human rights ambassadors have issued a joint declaration calling on Turkey to immediately release Osman Kavala, prior to the renowned activist's hearing scheduled for Feb. 5.
“Osman Kavala's ongoing detention raises serious questions about the rule of law in Turkey. His ongoing pre-trial detention, for more than three years, is a clear violation of his human rights,” said the declaration, which German Human Rights Commissioner Barbel Kofler shared on her Twitter account.
"The continued imprisonment of Osman Kavala in Turkey is politically motivated and goes against judgments of the European Court of Human Rights," Kofler said in her Twitter post.
The continued imprisonment of #osmankavala in #Turkey is politically motivated and goes against judgements of the European Court of Human Rights.— Bärbel Kofler, MdB (@BaerbelKofler) February 4, 2021
Full statement by eight European Human Rights Ambassadors here. 🇪🇪🇫🇮🇩🇪🇱🇺🇱🇹🇳🇱🇸🇪🇬🇧#StandUp4HumanRights pic.twitter.com/vYx5yjvKKa
The ambassadors expressed “great concern” over negative developments regarding the rule of law, human rights and judiciary in Turkey.
“Before his court hearing on 5 February, European Human Rights Ambassadors call on Turkey to ensure the immediate release of Osman Kavala, and the fair and transparent conduct of his trial in line with international obligations,” the letter said.
Nine member states of the European Union (EU) have human rights ambassadors today. Among them are Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. The French human rights ambassador was not among the eight ambassadors who joined the declaration on Kavala.
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 2020, a new prosecution accusing him of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and espionage was accepted by an Istanbul court.
In 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found that 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.