Renowned philanthropist Osman Kavala has said that Turkish courts give their decisions “under the influence of political messages and the political environment” after the Constitutional Court rejected an appeal for his release.
“The most common and severe problem in the judiciary is the detention practices taken under the influence of political messages and the political environment, which are not based on solid reasons and become punishment,” Kavala said in a statement released from jail on Dec. 29.
He said the Constitutional Court's ruling that his imprisonment did not amount to a rights violation is “preposterous” and “worrying.”
“It is preposterous that the Constitutional Court concluded that my detention based on the espionage charge, which was invented at the last moment, did not comply with the definition in the law, and did not rely on any evidence, is lawful. This behavior of the majority in the Court, which does not comply with the legal norms, is extremely worrying,” Kavala said.
He said that imprisonment can be justified only in exceptional circumstances. “This is the binding norm that the European Convention on Human Rights and our Constitution demand to be followed,” he said.
Kavala, 63, has been jailed since late 2017 and was remanded earlier this month at a hearing that Human Rights Watch called a "show trial" that silences dissent. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has called for his release.
Immediately after he was acquitted in February of charges related to nationwide protests in 2013, Kavala was arrested again on charges related to a failed coup in 2016.
Kavala had applied to the Constitutional Court earlier this year claiming his detention was unlawful and therefore violated his right to liberty and security.
But the General Assembly of the Constitutional Court on Dec. 29 ruled by an 8-7 margin that Kavala's continued detention did not amount to a violation.
Kavala has rejected all charges.