Turkey: Vote for infringement process by Council of Europe for release of Osman Kavala
“The message from the Committee of Ministers today is clear: Turkey must release Osman Kavala and end his politically motivated persecution.” – Nils Muižnieks, Amnesty International’s Europe Director
On 2 February 2022, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers voted to begin infringement proceedings against Turkey for failing to comply with European Court of Human Rights’ 2019 judgment, which stated that Turkey should free human rights defender Osman Kavala. By starting these proceedings, the Committee of Ministers is sending a clear message to all Council of Europe member states: European Court of Human Rights judgments are binding, and noncompliance and rule of law backsliding will not go unnoticed.
Osman Kavala has been imprisoned since 2017, after originally being accused of financing the Gazi Park protests 2013. In 2020, the Turkish government added to this charges of involvement in the 2016 coup plot. Though he is yet to be convicted of any crime, Kavala has spent over 4 years in prison. Many other civil society members were woven into the story over the years by Turkish authorities to buffer these trumped up charges. Read more about their stories here.
Already in 2018, the NHC called upon international bodies to place pressure on the Turkish authorities to release Kavala. The NHC therefore welcomes the current decision of the Council of Europe to start the infringement proceedings against Turkey and hopes that it will ultimately lead to the release of Kavala and the full reinstatement of his rights, as well as put an end to the infringement of civil and political rights of all citizens of Turkey.