Europe rights court censures Turkey over detained activist

gezi

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled July 11 that Turkey violated a prior judgement in the case Kavala v. Turkey by keeping activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala in detention. Kavala was arrested in 2017, ostensibly for involvement in the Gezi Park protests in 2013 and an attempted coup d’etat in 2016. Kavala brought a complaint to the ECHR for wrongful detainment and won his case, with the court finding that┬áthere was insufficient evidence to prove any criminal intent to “overthrow the government.” Turkey was ordered to┬árelease Kavala and pay damages. However, upon his release, Kavala was immediately detained again, this time on the charge of “espionage.” Kavala was then sentenced to life in prison, and the ECHR opened infringement proceedings to determine whether this new sentence defied their original judgement.

The court examined whether the facts used to convict Kavala of espionage were substantially similar to those used in the original case, thereby violating the ECHR’s prior ruling. In the new┬áopinion, the court found that the facts were in fact substantially similar, stating:

As during Mr KavalaÔÇÖs initial detention, the investigating authorities had once again referred to numerous acts which were carried out entirely lawfully to justify his continued pre-trial detention, notwithstanding the constitutional guarantees against arbitrary detention.

The court again ordered Kavala’s release and imposed a penalty of 7,500 euros, to be paid to Kavala along with the originally assessed damages. It remains to be seen if Turkey will comply with the ruling.

From Jurist, July 11. Used with permission.

See our last posts on Osman Kavala, the Gezi protests, and the political crackdown in Turkey.

Image: #OccupyGezi