Reacting to the conviction of Osman Kavala to an aggravated life sentence, Tiny Kox, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), made the following statement:
“I am deeply disappointed by the life sentence handed to Osman Kavala yesterday by an Istanbul Court. The fact that he spent almost five years in pre-trial detention, and has now been sentenced to life in prison as a result of legal proceedings that were found to be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, is shocking. I recall that the failure to execute the Strasbourg Court’s judgment in Osman Kavala’s case prompted the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers to refer the case to the European Court of Human Rights under Article 46.4 of the Convention.
Therefore, I count on the Turkish judiciary to act in full compliance with the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights and Turkey’s international obligations under the Convention. Mr Kavala should be released without any further delay. At the same time, I urgently call on the Turkish authorities to address – through constructive and open co-operation with the Council of Europe, including the co-rapporteurs of the Assembly’s Monitoring Committee – the numerous concerns relating to the functioning of democratic institutions, respect for fundamental rights and freedoms and the rule of law in Turkey, highlighted inter alia in Strasbourg Court judgments and Assembly Resolutions within the framework of its monitoring of Turkey.”
The Assembly’s Monitoring Committee has decided to postpone its meeting in Ankara, scheduled to take place on 24-25 May 2022, while authorising the co-rapporteurs, John Howell (United Kingdom, EC/DA) and Boris Cilevics (Latvia, SOC), to carry out a visit to Turkey, to continue political dialogue with the authorities within the framework of the Assembly’s monitoring procedure.
In its decision of 10 December 2019, the European Court of Human Rights found that Osman Kavala’s arrest and pre-trial detention took place in the absence of evidence to support a reasonable suspicion he had committed an offence (a violation of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention) and also that it pursued an ulterior purpose, namely, to silence him and dissuade other human rights defenders (a violation of Article 18 taken in conjunction with Article 5 § 1).