Turkey Must Release Human Rights Defender Osman Kavala

Civil Rights Defenders is calling on the Turkish authorities to immediately release Osman Kavala, a prominent human rights defender who was arrested one year ago, with no indictment yet filed against him.

After Kavala was detained at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, Istanbul 1st Criminal Court of Peace on 1 November, 2017, remanded him in custody claiming he was “attempting to abolish, replace or prevent the implementation of the constitutional order through use of force and violence” and was “attempting, by use of force and violence, to abolish the government, or prevent it from fulfilling its duties” (Articles 309 and 312 of the Penal Code).

Turkish authorities have so far rejected all complaints that his legal team filed against his imprisonment. The request for his release lodged to the Constitutional Court in December 2017, is still pending.

“On 1 November it would be a full year that Osman Kavala has spent in prison with no indictment raised against him. We demand that the Turkish authorities immediately release Kavala, cease the practice of arbitrary detentions and fully respect the European Convention of Human Rights that guarantees pre-trail detentions are limited and based on evidence,” said Goran Miletic, Director for Europe at Civil Rights Defenders.

Kavala is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Anadolu Kültür, a non-profit cultural institution promoting arts, culture, pluralism and peaceful coexistence. The institution has cultural ties with Armenia, advancing Turkey’s European integration process and working with refugee children.

Kavala has been one of the most prominent figures in Turkey’s civil society since the 1990s. He is a founding member, board member and on the advisory board of many civil society organisations, including Citizens’ Assembly, Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation, History Foundation and Diyarbakır Political and Social Research Institute.

Civil Rights Defenders demand that the Turkish authorities ensure the right to liberty and security and the right to fair trial, in line with Articles 5 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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