Duvar English

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Turkey violated the rights of Osman Kavala, a prominent philanthropist, businessman and human rights activist who has been in jail for 770 days, while also calling for his immediate release.

The court on Dec. 10 ruled that Kavala’s right to liberty and security, right to a speedy decision on the lawfulness of detention and the limitation on use of restrictions on rights were violated.

“Having regard to the particular circumstances of the case and the grounds on which it had based its findings of a violation, the Court considered that the Government was to take every measure to put an end to the applicant’s detention and to secure his immediate release,” the court ruling read.

Kavala is accused of being one of the “managers and organizers” of 2013 Gezi Park protests, which took place in Istanbul’s Taksim following harsh government response to a group of protesters trying to prevent the cutting down of trees for a large development project planned by the government.

He was arrested in 2017 on suspicion of attempting to overthrow the government and the constitutional order through force and violence. In addition to the charges related to the Gezi Park protests, Kavala also faces those related to the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt.

“The Court found that the authorities were unable to demonstrate that the applicant’s initial and continued pre-trial detention had been justified by reasonable suspicions based on an objective assessment of the acts attributed to him,” the ECHR said.

The court also said it supported Kavala’s assertion that his detention aimed to silence him and that it was “applied for purposes other than bringing him before a competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence.”