The Council of Europe has said that it will launch infringement proceedings against Turkey if the country fails to release prominent businessman, human rights defender and philanthropist Osman Kavala in line with previous European Court of Human Rights rulings.
“The deputies affirmed their determination, if the applicant is not released, to ensure the implementation of the judgment through all the means at the disposal of the Organisation, including if necessary infringement proceedings under Article 46 § 4 of the Convention,” it said on June 10.
“The deputies underlined that the continuing arbitrary detention of the applicant, on the basis of proceedings which constitute a misuse of the criminal justice system, undertaken for the purpose of reducing him to silence, constitutes a flagrant breach of Turkey’s obligation under Article 46 § 1 of the Convention to abide by the Court’s judgment and is unacceptable in a State subject to the rule of law,” it added.
Kavala has been in prison in Turkey for more than three years without a conviction. His case has drawn condemnation from around the world, with various rights groups calling for his immediate release.
Immediately after he was acquitted in February 2020 of charges related to nationwide Gezi protests in 2013, Kavala was arrested again on charges related to a failed coup in 2016.
Kavala applied to the Turkish Constitutional Court last year saying his detention was unlawful and therefore violated his right to liberty and security.
But the General Assembly of the Constitutional Court on Dec. 29, 2020 ruled by an 8-7 margin that Kavala’s continued detention did not amount to a violation.
In January, a Turkish appeals court ruled to overturn the Gezi-related verdicts saying that some evidence was excluded and that the case should be joined with the other case against Kavala.
The first hearing in the retrial of the Gezi case took place on May 21.