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Statement by the French Human Rights Ambassador and the German Human Rights  Commissioner on the continuation of the trial against Osman Kavala and his codefendants

19.05.2021 - Press release

Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office and French Ambassador for Human Rights Delphine Borione issue the following joint statement on the continuation of the trial against Osman Kavala and his codefendants on 21 May in Turkey:

Osman Kavala has been behind bars for almost 1300 days, even though the European Court of Human Rights demanded his release a year and a half ago. Turkey’s treatment of Osman Kavala and the non-implementation of the ECtHR judgment is not worthy of a state governed by the rule of law or with longstanding membership of the Council of Europe. We call on Turkey to urgently respect its international obligations and to release Osman Kavala without further delay.

Background

Osman Kavala, the director of the Turkish cultural foundation Anadolu Kültür, has been in prison since 18 October 2017. On 10 December 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) determined that the prolonged pre-trial detention of Osman Kavala is in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and demanded his immediate release. The Committee of Minister of the European Council has repeatedly called on Turkey to implement this judgement and therefore to release Osman Kavala. On 18 February 2020, an Istanbul Court cleared him of “attempted overthrow of the government” in the context of the so-called Gezi-protests of 2013. However, he was almost immediately re-arrested on different charges. Mr. Kavala was most recently on trial for allegations of espionage on 05 February 2021. A Court of Appeal repealed the previous acquittal on 22 February 2021. In the trial that is due to start on 21 May, both cases will be brought together.

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