Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Turkey to “promptly reverse” its decision to keep prominent businessman, human rights activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala in jail, saying his continued arrest stems from “another bogus investigation” against him.
“The immediate re-arrest of Osman Kavala in another bogus investigation after his acquittal on trumped-up charges for the Gezi Park protests shows how Turkey’s criminal justice system is politically manipulated, with detention and prosecutions pursued at the political whim of the president,” Kenneth Roth, executive director of the HRW, said in a statement released by the group on Feb. 20.
“Kavala has already been wrongfully imprisoned for 28 months. Extending his detention further is a travesty that should be promptly reversed,” Roth said.Osman Kavala re-arrested hours after acquittal ruling
Kavala was re-arrested by a court order on Feb. 19, just a day after his acquittal in the Gezi trial. His continued arrest stems from a separate case pertaining to his supposed involvement in the failed 2016 coup attempt.
Many human rights groups and European politicians have released messages in support of Kavala following the re-arrest decision, finding the Turkish judiciary's move “very worrying.”
The HRW said in statement on Feb. 20 that the re-arrest decision “demonstrates the extent to which Turkey's government is abusing its justice system to target perceived critics.”
The group recalled the European Court of Human Rights' (ECHR) December ruling which said that said evidence was insufficient to justify the accusation that Kavala had been involved in the abortive 2016 coup.
“The court [ECHR] said that his detention had been carried out and prolonged in bad faith for unlawful purposes, in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, and that he should be immediately released,” the HRW said in its statement.