Release of Osman Kavala et al.: Turkish Authorities and Judiciary Back on Track?

Today, 18 February 2020, the Turkish court at the high-security prison in Silivri acquitted businessman and intellectual Osman Kavala and eight other defendants in the so-called Gezi trial. The court also ordered the release of Mr Kavala.

Sergey Lagodinsky, the Chair of the Turkey delegation of the European Parliament, comments:

„It is a great relief and I am happy for Osman Kavala and all the other defendants, as well as their friends and families. If on one day, you fear to be kept in prison for the rest of your life and on the next day, you are free, I can only imagine how emotional this must be. In fact, today is a very emotional day for many people who followed this trial, also for me.

„At the same time, my thoughts are with many other politically accused or imprisoned citizens. Tomorrow, we will closely monitor the trial on the „Buyukada 10″ group and I hope that all of the accused human-rights defenders will be acquitted as well. I urge the Turkish authorities and judiciary to get back on track with rule of law and the orderly judicial procedures. All we want is that rights of citizens are being respected, so that Turkey becomes part of the European space for rights and values. Today might be the first step towards this goal.“

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.

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