Council of Europe officials on Monday again called on Turkey to “immediately release” Turkish businessman Osman Kavala, who was sentenced to life in prison in April following a European Court ruling that Ankara violated the European Convention on Human Rights.
“Turkey has not fulfilled its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. We welcome today’s decision (of the European Court of Human Rights) which provides a clear answer to this case. We reiterate our call for the immediate release of Osman Kavala,” three senior Council of Europe officials wrote in a statement.
This is the second time in its history that the European Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe’s judicial body, has on Monday morning condemned a decision by the Grand Chamber, one of its 46 member states.
The court considered that the purpose of Kavala’s arrest was to “silence” and “dissuade other human rights activists”.
Ankara largely ignored these rulings: Turkish local courts ordered the temporary release of Osman Kavala in February 2020, before the businessman was arrested again hours later on orders from the state prosecutor on charges of “attempted coup” in connection with the failed coup. in July 2016.
Having become an opponent of the regime, Kavala denounced before the judges the “judicial murder” against himself and the influence of the Turkish president in his trial.
In response, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the ruling “once again calls into question the credibility of the European system for the protection of human rights.”
“We expect the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (…) to abandon its selective and unilateral approach, act with common sense and avoid efforts by certain circles to politicize the issue,” Ankara said.