The European Court of Human Rights had concluded, more than a year ago, that Osman Kavala’s arrest and pre-trial detention took place in the absence of evidence to support a reasonable suspicion he had committed an offence and pursued an ulterior purpose, namely to silence him and dissuade other human rights defenders.
The decision last Friday of a Court in Istanbul to maintain in prison Osman Kavala, despite the unequivocal final ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, runs against Turkey’s stated commitment to the rule of law and the respect of fundamental rights, including the presumption of innocence.
As underlined by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, the Turkish authorities have not been able to dispel the strong suspicion that Mr Kavala’s ongoing detention and the initiation of a new investigation represent a continued violation of the legally binding judgement of the European Court of Human Rights of 10 December 2019.
We therefore call on the Turkish judiciary to follow-up on the Council of Europe’s recommendations and implement the afore-mentioned judgement and release Osman Kavala as a matter of urgency.
As a candidate country and long-standing member of the Council of Europe, Turkey urgently needs to make concrete and sustained progress in the respect of fundamental rights, which are a cornerstone of EU-Turkey relations.