Press Release | Brussels, 19 February 2020
Yesterday, 18 February 2020, businessman and intellectual Osman Kavala has been arrested on new grounds, only hours after the Turkish court at the high-security prison in Silivri had acquitted him and eight other defendants in the so-called Gezi trial.
Sergey Lagodinsky, the Chair of the Turkey delegation of the European Parliament, comments:
„Osman Kavala’s renewed detainment is another tragic disappointment for him, his family and all those who had continued to hope for Turkey’s return to democracy.
The disappointment is bitter, but it is little surprise. As in many other cases like those of Ahmet Altan or Selahattin Demirtaş, the Turkish judicial authorities opted for an inhumane path. No judicial reform packages can conceal the essential problem: the relationship between real or false security concerns and civil rights is out of balance. Any anti-terrorist policies of the Turkish government exceed the limits of the acceptable once they violate human and civil rights.
It is time to return to the unconditional rule of law and to implement comprehensive judicial and legislative reforms. The Kavala case shows that we are not getting anywhere with hopes for individual „reasonable judges“ or „good will“ from the rulers. The only way forward is Turkey’s systemic return to the principles of rule of law and judicial independence.
My thoughts are with Osman Kavala, his family and friends. We will not give up and will continue to fight for his freedom and the freedom of all those unjustly imprisoned and persecuted in Turkey. It is difficult to imagine any normalisation of relations with Turkey before their rights have been fully reinstated.“
Background: In their pleadings in the beginning of February, the prosecutor had requested life-long sentences for Osman Kavala and two other defendants, as well as sentences between 15 and 20 years for several other defendants. Mr Kavala has been detained since November 2017, being accused of „attempting to overthrow the government“ in the context of the Gezi Park protests in 2013. On 10 December 2019, the European Court of Human Rights recognized Mr Kavala’s detention as arbitrary and ordered his immediate release.