During the first two weeks of this month, Osman Kavala will mark three significant milestones in his life. Yesterday, October 1, was his 700th day in prison since his arrest on charges that he instigated the 2013 Gezi Park protests in an effort to overthrow the Turkish government. Today, October 2, he marks his 701st day in jail and his 62nd birthday. Next week, October 8-9, he will appear in court for the third hearing in his case.
In solidarity with Kavala during this poignant and difficult stretch of time, supporters are using the hashtags #sevgiliOsmanKavala and #dearOsmanKavala to symbolically send messages to Kavala.
A very kind, modest man. Always willing to explain me -patiently-about the complexity of Turkey. Passionate about a just and free society & ready to contribute his part. #SevgiliOsmanKavala #DearOsmanKavala
— Kati Piri (@KatiPiri) September 25, 2019
#SevgiliOsmanKavala #DearOsmanKavala Osman Kavala is the best page of an unfinished book on Human Rights Struggle in Turkey. Ethnic and religious minorities’ rights, human rights and democratic norms, egalitarianism and civil society are also in prison as Osman is held there.
— Aysen Candas (@aysen_candas) September 25, 2019
Kavala is one of the most important leaders of Turkish civil society, heading up the charitable foundation Anadolu Kultur, which supports arts and cultural projects that promote cultural diversity and exchange. Promoting human rights is a major tenant of Anadolu Kultur, and Kavala’s, work.
Kavala was one of the most prominent figures swept up in the crackdown on civil society in the wake of the 2016 coup attempt. Kavala and fifteen others are charged in the Gezi case. Amnesty’s Andrew Gardner has called the charges against Kavala “outlandish” and noted, despite its massive word count,
The 657-page indictment against Osman Kavala and the others does not contain a single shred of evidence that they were in any way involved in criminal activity, let alone conspiring to overthrow the government. During the first hearing in June, Osman Kavala and the other defendants made statements to the court that exposed in great detail the baseless allegations leveled against them.
Amnesty is calling for Kavala to be immediately released and all charges against him and his co-defendants to be dropped.