The decision to detain Osman Kavala, a prominent philanthropist, on new charges merely hours after a court ordered his release must be immediately reversed and he must immediately set free, said Amnesty International.
On 18 February 2020, a court ordered Osman Kavala’s release, and only few hours later the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor issued a new detention order against Osman Kavala on new charges.
“This decision smacks of deliberate and calculated cruelty. To have been granted release after almost two-and-a-half years behind bars only to have the door to freedom so callously slammed in his face is a devastating blow for Osman Kavala, his family and all who stand for justice in Turkey,” said Milena Buyum Amnesty International Turkey Campaigner. “This cynical and outrageous re-detention only deepens our resolve to continue to fight on Osman Kavala’s behalf. It is time for Turkey to end the relentless crackdown on dissenting voices. Osman Kavala must be immediately released from prison and the witch hunt against him ended.” she added.
Besides Amnesty International, the European Union, PEN, and many other human rights groups activists, politicians, international organizations , call detention of Osman Kavala ‘cynical and outrageous’.
Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union stated on press release that “the lack of credible grounds to re-arrest Osman Kavala and to continue his detention pending different charges, further damages the credibility of Turkey’s judiciary.” Spokesperson’s statement continues with “As a candidate country and long-standing member of the Council of Europe, Turkey is expected to apply the highest democratic standards and practices, including the right to a fair trial, the strict respect of the principle of presumption of innocence and a legal process. These are critical aspects not only for the citizens of Turkey, but also to guarantee an impartial and independent Turkish judiciary. Judicial proceedings cannot be used as a means of silencing critical voices.”
In addition to Spokesperson’s statement, another report that published on 19 February 2020 Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, calls Turkish authorities to stop prosecute human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists. The report stresses the importance of reinstating the judicial independence in Turkey. “The Commissioner considers that the misuse of criminal investigations, proceedings, detentions and sentences to silence human rights defenders and to discourage civil society engagement is the most acute symptom of the mounting pressure they are facing in Turkey.”
The judicial independence in Turkey has been damaged significantly and it is regular to observe the symptoms. A day after the acquittal of Osman Kavala, Turkey’s Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) started an investigation of three judges who acquitted Osman Kavala. Also on Feb. 19, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the court “attempted” to acquit Kavala “with a maneuver.”
30 City Bars in Turkey including Ankara and Diyarbakir Bars called the members of HSK to resign in a joint statement. Bars stated that investigating of those three judges is not only unconstitutional but also an open threat for all the members of the judicial system. The joint statement points out that the Article 138 of the Turkish Constitution that regulates the judicial independence secures the independency of the judges.