Turkish court rejects appeal against Kavala's imprisonment despite Council of Europe warning

An Istanbul court has rejected an appeal against the ongoing imprisonment of philanthropist Osman Kavala, in a move which could jeopardize Turkey’s membership in the Council of Europe. Europe’s main human rights forum last week asked Ankara to submit its view on the Kavala case by Jan. 19, 2922.

Osman Kavala has been behind bars since 2017.

Duvar English

A Turkish court has rejected an appeal filed by lawyers against the ongoing imprisonment of philanthropist Osman Kavala, who has been jailed for more than four years.

After the Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court on Nov. 26 extended Kavala's imprisonment, the lawyers took the case to a higher court -- the Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court. But, the appeals court also rejected the demand for Kavala's release. 

The Council of Europe (CoE) on Dec. 3 ruled to notify Turkey of its intention to launch "infringement proceedings" against the country over its failure to release Kavala in line with a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling.

The Council said that it asked Ankara to submit its view on the case by Jan 19, 2022 and the issue will be referred to the ECHR at its subsequent meeting on Feb. 2.

If the court finds a violation, the Council's Committee of Ministers can begin considering which measures should be taken. Turkey's membership or voting rights at the CoE could be suspended at the end of the proceedings.

Kavala was jailed on Nov. 1, 2017, on charges of helping to organize the 2013 Gezi protests in Istanbul. Turkish courts ruled to acquit him and his co-defendants of these charges in February 2020, but he was immediately re-arrested and detained on charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and “espionage” related to the coup attempt of July 2016. Kavala, along with human rights organizations around the world, has unequivocally condemned these charges, calling them blatantly political.