ECtHR, AI and HRW calls for the release of Osman Kavala

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has given a verdict of right violation for businessperson Osman Kavala, who was detained on October 18, 2017 and has been arrested since November 1, 2017.

The European Court of Human Rights called on Tuesday for the immediate release of Turkish businessman, human-rights defender and activist Osman Kavala, saying there was a lack of reasonable suspicion that he had committed an offense.

Kavala has been behind bars since November 1, 2017, standing trial on charges of attempting to overthrow the government, based on accusations that he organized and funded nationwide protests in 2013’s Gezi protests against then-Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

Kavala faces life in jail if convicted.

The Court has concluded that the Articles 5/1 and 5/4 and Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights have been violated and ruled that Kavala shall be released from prison immediately. The verdict has emphasized that the arrest of Kavala is a right violation.

“In the absence of facts, information or evidence showing that Mr. Kavala had been involved in criminal activity, he could not reasonably be suspected of having attempted to overthrow the Government by force or violence,” the court said, calling on authorities to secure his release.

It also said in the ruling that it supported Kavala’s assertion that his detention was aimed at silencing him, adding that it was “likely to have a dissuasive effect on the work of human rights defenders”.

Amnesty International : Turkey must abide by the decision about Kavala

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have released a joint statement and called on Turkey to carry out the ECtHR ruling and release arrested businessperson Osman Kavala from prison immediately.

International rights organizations Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International have issued a joint statement and called on the authorities in Turkey to abide by the verdict of European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and release Osman Kavala immediately.

Announcing its judgement on Kavala yesterday (December 10), the ECtHR has indicated that his detention has been carried out and prolonged in bad faith for unlawful purposes and in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, ruling that he shall be released immediately.

“The ECtHR ruling should lead to an end to Turkey’s indefensible persecution of Osman Kavala,” has said Aisling Reidy, senior legal adviser at Human Rights Watch and added, “Turkish authorities should immediately release Kavala and stop their wider crackdown on rights defenders.”

Andrew Gardner, Turkey Strategy and Research Manager at Amnesty International, has also said, “Today’s judgment is not the first time the court has found that Turkey has jailed its critics, not because of offending behavior, but in a crude attempt to try to silence them.

“Kavala’s release needs to be the first of many steps beginning to reverse the damage caused by the massive crackdown on civil society over the last several years and to restore respect for human rights in Turkey today.”

Other highlights from the joint statement are as follows:

“Kavala’s detention is only one example of the harsh crackdown by the Turkish government on its critics. Over the last three years, the government has closed down more than 1,500 associations and foundations, most of them during a state of emergency that allowed the government to rule by emergency decree, without effective parliamentary or judicial oversight. Peaceful protest has been suppressed.

Despite the end of emergency rule, critics of the government risk criminal charges and lengthy pretrial imprisonment. Over 100 journalists and media workers remain in prison. Since the July 2016 coup attempt, almost 130,000 public sector workers have been arbitrarily dismissed from their jobs for alleged links to terrorist organizations.

‘RELEASE OSMAN KAVALA’

“Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been pressing for Kavala’s immediate and unconditional release since the start of his arbitrary detention. Turkey should end its crackdown on civil society and release imprisoned journalists, human rights defenders, and other civil society members against whom the authorities have not provided evidence of internationally recognizable crimes.”

BACKGROUND

On June 8, 2018, Osman Kavala appealed to the ECtHR via his attorneys, indicating that this pre-trial detention violates that Article 5 (Right to Liberty and Security) of the European Convention on Human Rights and that the verdict of arrest against him was given with political motives.

Anadolu Kültür Inc. Executive Board Chair Kavala is the only arrested defendant in 16-defendant Gezi Trial, which started on June 24, 2019