Human rights organization Amnesty International requests for Osman Kavala and other defendants’ immediate release today, March 21.
Osman Kavala, Human Rights Defender
In 2013, Osman Kavala was initially charged with contriving the Gezi protests. It’s a mass protest against an urban development project in Istanbul, Turkey. Following court acquittal, the authorities recaptured him at once for purportedly being responsible for the failed coup attempt in 2016. Moreover, they charged him with “spying”.
Last Summer, the judge’s verdict wanted to append the Gezi prosecution with that of 35 football supporters. However, the decision didn’t push through in the last hearing in February due to the prosecutor’s request. This extended Kavala’s prison sentence, in spite of intensifying persuasion to effectuate the European Court of Human Right’s ruling and his release.
The prosecutor requested that Osman Kavala and Mücella Yapıcı be found guilty of “trying to bring down the government.” Both may face a life sentence if indicted. Yapıcı is a co-defendant and served as the Taksim Solidarity spokesperson during the Gezi Park protests.
“This weekend, Osman Kavala marked his 1,600th day in jail. Despite committing no internationally recognized crime, he remains arbitrarily detained on baseless charges in a facility far away from his family. Since 2017, the prosecuting authorities have tried to conjure a crime out of thin air but have repeatedly failed. On the contrary, each tortuous twist in this politically motivated prosecution has further exposed the hollowness of the Turkish justice system,” said Nils Muižnieks, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.
Infringement Procedure Against Turkey
In January of this year, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers concluded to start the formal infringement process against Turkey for not releasing Kavala. It came two years after the European Court of Human Rights discovered that Turkish officials had infringed Kavala’s right to freedom to keep him silent.
However, the prosecutor mentioned in his final opinion that the “spying” charge on Kavala is included in the allegations of the human rights defender. But, the European Court of Human Rights subjugated there wasn’t scepticism that he committed a crime to legitimise his detention pending trial.
Currently, Turkey is the only second nation to face infringement proceedings. It failed to perform a binding ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.
Human Rights Award Recipient
Kavala received the 2022 Human Rights Award of Düsseldorf Tonhalle award at a ceremony. The German Minister of Agriculture and Food, Cem Özdemir, received the award on his behalf.
The Tonhalle Human Rights Award considered Kavala worthy of recognition. Adam Fischer, Conductor of the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra gave it since 2016. Düsseldorf Mayor, Stephan Keller gave the opening speech ceremony on Saturday evening.
Özdemir, who received the award on behalf of Kavala read Kavala’s message to the public who attended the ceremony. The letter said:
“Düsseldorf Tonhalle’s Human Rights Award gave me great honour. The architect of this award, Adam Fischer, gave an exceptional performance that harmonizes the voice of conscience with his music that best reflects the values of humanism and democracy, which guided me and my colleagues at Anadolu Kültür. Being an artist makes this award very valuable to me. Unfortunately, I have been deprived of the happiness of realizing projects with art and culture people in my country and abroad for a few years. It will be possible for us to reach a country where freedoms, freedoms and differences are valued. I believe that tonight’s event and concert will be a call for humanity as well as the honour it has given me.”
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