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Human Rights Commissioner Kofler on the Osman Kavala case

12.05.2020 - Press release

With the rejection yesterday (11 May) of Turkey’s request for referral of Osman Kavala’s case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, the Court’s judgment of 10 December 2019 becomes final. This judgment found that the pre‑trial detention of the well‑known Turkish businessman and cultural philanthropist Osman Kavala was a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (12 May):

I cannot comprehend why Osman Kavala remains in detention despite the European Court of Human Rights judgment and his acquittal in Istanbul on 18 February 2020. As of today, the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights is final. I therefore call on the Turkish Government to meet the obligations it has entered into under the European Convention on Human Rights. These include constructive cooperation with the Council of Europe.

In light of the COVID‑19 pandemic, there are currently very specific obligations to ensure prisoners’ protection. I encourage Turkey to make a humanitarian gesture also in respect of those not covered by the existing amnesty arrangements.

Background information:

Osman Kavala, chairman of Anadolu Kültür, a cultural foundation in Turkey, has been in detention since 18 October 2017. On 10 December 2019, the European Court of Human Rights described Osman Kavala’s long period in pre‑trial detention as a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and called for his immediate release. This decision became final on 11 May 2020 with the rejection of Turkey’s request that the matter again be referred to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. Osman Kavala was acquitted by an Istanbul court on 18 February 2020, but was immediately re‑arrested on other charges.

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