COVID-19: Rapporteurs call for the immediate release of Osman Kavala after Strasbourg Court decision

PACE monitors for Turkey Thomas Hammarberg (Sweden, SOC) and John Howell (United Kingdom, EC/DA), as well as the General rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders in Council of Europe member States Alexandra Louis (France, ALDE), have reacted to the decision of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights to reject the appeal brought by the Turkish authorities against the Chamber’s Kavala v. Turkey judgment.

“The ruling of the Strasbourg Court is now final. We urge the Turkish authorities to implement it and to immediately release Osman Kavala who has been detained since 18 October 2017. We also recall that the ruling of the Court not only referred to the Gezi trial, but also to the investigation of Mr Kavala’s alleged involvement in the failed coup of 15 July 2016, which was used to justify his groundless re-arrest on 19 February 2020.

His immediate release is all the more important because Mr Kavala, like other politicians, civil society activists or journalists detained for their opinions, remains exposed to the COVID-19 virus in prison as a result of being excluded from the recent law allowing early and conditional releases in the context of the pandemic. This remains a matter of deep concern to us.

By releasing Mr Kavala, the Turkish authorities would abide by their legal and humanitarian obligations. Moreover, they would send the right signal to Turkish civil society, a signal that has been expected for a long time,” they concluded.