Turkey: Release prisoner of conscience Osman Kavala immediately, following binding infringement ruling


Following today’s European Court of Human Rights judgment condemning Turkey for failing to ensure implementation of the Court’s 2019 ruling demanding Osman Kavala’s immediate release, concluding that the Court “considered that the measures indicated by Türkiye [Turkey] did not permit it to conclude that the State Party had acted in ‘good faith’, in a manner compatible with the ‘conclusions and spirit’ of the Kavala judgment”, Julia Hall, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Europe office, said:

“This ruling shames Turkey’s authorities. For almost three years, they have refused to implement the European Court of Human Rights’ 2019 judgment and release Osman Kavala. Today’s ruling lays bare yet again the failure of the government to abide by a legally binding obligation. Turkey’s continuing inaction compounds the egregious suffering of Osman Kavala and his family.”

“Kavala’s case is emblematic of the clampdown on civil society and the rollback in human rights protections that affects everyone in Turkey. If Turkey persists in its stubborn refusal to release Osman Kavala, it will further debase itself as one of the Council of Europe’s founding members. The Council of Europe, its member states and the European Union must urge Turkey to finally free Osman Kavala and the many others detained in similar circumstances.”

Background

In 2019, the European Court of Human Rights found that Osman Kavala’s right to liberty was violated and was underpinned by the government’s intention to silence him. The judgment called for his immediate release. Instead of implementing the ruling, Turkey’s authorities have subjected Kavala to further prosecution, on farcical charges without any evidence.

In February 2022, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, in charge of monitoring the implementation of ECtHR rulings, initiated infringement proceedings against Turkey for its lack of implementation of the Court’s ruling, under Article 46, paragraph 4, of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Infringement proceedings for failure to implement judgments of the ECtHR have been initiated only once before in the case of Ilgar Mammadov v Azerbaijan.

In June, Amnesty International declared Osman Kavala and six co-defendants prisoners of conscience, following their imprisonment after unjust convictions in the Gezi trial on 25 April 2022.

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