Turkiet: Släpp Osman Kavala och hans 15 medåtalade fria

Svenska PEN och en lång rad yttrande- och pressfrihetsorganisationer fördömer den turkiska domstolens beslut den 8 oktober att fortsätta hålla Osman Kavala häktad och att Gezirättegången återigen skjuts upp. Nya datum för rättegången är den 24-25 december.

Osman Kavala har tillsammans med 15 andra människorättskämpar, journalister och kulturarbetare anklagats för ”omstörtande verksamhet” i samband med Geziprotesterna 2013. Kavala har redan suttit häktad i nära två år, han häktades 18 oktober 2018. Läs mer om Osman Kavala och Gezirättegången här.

Vi kräver att åtalet mot samtliga 16 åtalade hävs och att Kavala och människorättsjuristen Yiğit Aksakoğlu kompenseras för den tid som de suttit häktade.

Många har uttryck tvivel om domstolens oberoende i Gezirättegången. I en muntlig plädering påpekade försvarsadvokaten Can Atalay att de förändringar i juryns sammansättning som gjorts av Turkiets Högsta råd för domstol och åklagare är exempel på hur rättsväsendet saknar oberoende. Vi menar att beslutet om den fortsatta häktningen av Kavala och hela rättegångens förlopp bryter mot internationell standard för mänskliga rättigheter och tydligt visar att det turkiska rättsväsendet inte fungerar.

Läs uttalandet i sin helhet nedan:

We, the undersigned freedom of expression and media freedom organisations, strongly condemn the court’s interim decision on the Gezi Park trial to continue the detention of civil society leading figure Osman Kavala at the end of the third hearing of the case, on 8 October 2019.

The judicial panel of the 30th High Criminal Court sitting at Silivri High Security Facility in Istanbul upheld the prosecutor’s request for the continuing detention of Kavala in Silivri. The next hearing was set for 24-25 December, 2019. We believe that the decision against Kavala’s release and the very continuation of this trial contravenes international human rights standards and is a clear demonstration of the lack of a functioning judicial system in Turkey. 

We call for the case against all 16 defendants to be dropped and for Kavala and human rights defender Yiğit Aksakoğlu to be compensated for the time they have spent in prison.
Doubts over the independence of the court panel was cast by many, including lawyer Can Atalay, defendant in this case. While giving oral evidence at court in his defense, Atalay commented that the changes in the judicial panel made by the Council of Judges and Prosecutors are indications of the lack of impartiality of the judiciary. As such, he argued that it was in contravention of Articles 36 (right to a Fair Trial) and 37 (right to a Natural Judge) of the Turkish Constitution, and in violation of the right to a fair trial as enshrined in Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. 

Kjersti Løken Stavrum, President of Norwegian PEN said, 'The lack of independence of the judicial panel has been proved beyond doubt today.  In a case where there is neither evidence nor cause to detain the defendant Kavala in prison for one more day, the decision was given for his continued detention. By the time of the next hearing in December, Kavala will have spent over two years in prison for no tangible legal reason.  We call for the entire case to be dropped and for this surreal and illegal process to be brought to a close.' 

“A decision on Kavala’s case remains pending before the European Court of Human Rights. Today’s proceedings underscore the disintegration of the rule of law and domestic remedy in Turkey, as the defendant – who has already spent over 700 days in detention - is ordered to remain in pre-trial detention– on completely baseless charges. We urge the European Court of Human Rights to speedily rule in this case,” said Sarah Clarke, Head of Europe and Central Asia for ARTICLE 19.  

We urge the Turkish Ministry of Justice to put an end to such practices where punishment is meted out ahead of possible conviction and to commit to the abolition of extended pretrial detention, as the Government outlined in the recent Judicial Reform Strategy, by immediately freeing Kavala.

We also call upon all diplomatic missions and all other international observers to attend the next hearing on 24-25 December 2019 to records the proceedings and show their continuing support for the defendants.   

Article 19

Articolo 21

Civic Space Studies Association

Danish PEN

ECPMF (European Centre for Press and Media Freedom)

English PEN

EFJ (European Federation of Journalists)

Freedom House

German PEN

GEN Global Editors Network

IFJ International Federation of Journalists

Norwegian PEN

OBCT (Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa)

P24 (Punto 24)

PEN America

PEN Canada

PEN International

SEEMO (South East Europe Media Organisation)

Swedish PEN

Wales PEN Cymru