BärbelKofler, the German government's Commissioner for Human RightsPolicy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, hascalled on Turkey to abide by the European Court of Human Rights(ECHR)'s order to release influential businessman, philanthropist andcivil society activist Osman Kavala.
Kofler's statement came after the ECHR rejected Turkey's request for referral of Kavala's case to the court's Grand Chamber. With this ruling, the ECHR's Dec. 10-dated judgement urging Turkish authorities to relase Kavala has become final.ECHR rejects Turkey’s appeal over ruling on Osman Kavala
“I cannot comprehend why Osman Kavala remains in detention despite the European Court of Human Rights judgment and his acquittal in Istanbul on 18 February 2020. As of today, the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights is final. I therefore call on the Turkish Government to meet the obligations it has entered into under the European Convention on Human Rights,” Kofler said in a written statement on May 12.
“Inlight of the COVID 19 pandemic, there are currently veryspecific obligations to ensure prisoners’ protection. I encourageTurkey to make a humanitarian gesture also in respect of thosenot covered by the existing amnesty arrangements,” he further said.
Kavalawas jailed in November of 2017 related to charges concerning the 2013Gezi Park protests. He was accused of "attempting tooverthrow the government'' by organizing and financing the nationwideprotests.
The ECHR on Dec. 10, 2019 ruled that Turkey violated the rights of Kavala and called for his immediate release. It cited a "lack of reasonable suspicion that the applicant had committed an offense” in its ruling.I can't keep my optimism, Osman Kavala says in letter marking 2.5 years in prison
Ankarahowever did not implement the decisionimmediately. The prominent activist was acquitted by a Turkish courtin the Gezi Park trial on Feb. 18, but only to be re-arrested just afew hours later in a newly launched case – this time on “espionagecharges.”
OnMarch 9, one day before Turkey objected to the ECHR judgment's rulingconcerning Kavala, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Officefiled their “new” charges in the espionage case, citing Kavala'salleged contact with U.S. academic Henri Barkey as evidence. Theprosecutors put in the investigation file Historical TrafficSearch (HTS) records allegedly confirming communication betweenKavala and Barkey, which were challenged by Kavala's lawyers.
Asthe ECHR's May 12-dated ruling pertains to Kavala's imprisonmentstemming from the Gezi Park trial, the philanthropist will not bereleased, T24 news portal said.
Human rights advocates say that the “new” investigation is in fact the same one under which the authorities put Kavala in jail in 2017. They say the prosecutors have refashioned their old investigation into a brand new charge.