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Turkey: The demand for the release of civil society leader Osman Kavala grows louder

  • Council of Europe ministers calling for Kavala to be freed immediately

Following the decision by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers calling on Turkey to release Osman Kavala from prison immediately, Amnesty International’s Turkey Campaigner, Milena Buyum said:

“Almost three years after Osman Kavala was locked behind bars on absurd charges, the demand for his release has grown louder both in Turkey and around the world.”

Turkey has just one simple decision to make to comply with the Court’s binding judgment – release Osman Kavala immediately and discontinue the criminal proceedings against him

Milena Buyum, Amnesty International’s Turkey Campaigner

“It is hard to understate the seriousness of Kavala’s continued unlawful imprisonment – almost a year since the European Court of Human Rights ruled for his release. Turkey has just one simple decision to make to comply with the Court’s binding judgment – release Osman Kavala immediately and discontinue the criminal proceedings against him.

“Anything less will be yet a further breach of Osman Kavala’s human rights and yet another shameful stain on Turkey’s flailing justice system.

“By taking this decision, and also asking on Turkey to strengthen its judiciary against interference and ensure its  independence, the Council of Europe is sending a key message of support to other critical voices and human rights defenders who have been victims of the same pattern of measures designed to silence them.”

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Background

The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, tasked with monitoring the implementation of European Court of Human Rights judgments, considered the Kavala v Turkey judgment for the first time as Osman Kavala completed 34 months held in pre-trial detention. In December, the Strasbourg Court found that Osman Kavala’s extended detention had “the ulterior purpose of reducing him to silence” and violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

The recent unjust convictions of human rights defenders in Turkey including of former Amnesty International Turkey’s Chair Taner Kılıç, and former Director Idil Eser, are the latest example of the attempts to paralyse civil society and dissuade human rights work.