CoE human rights commissioner applies to intervene in Kavala case at ECHR

CoE human rights commissioner applies to intervene in Kavala case at ECHR

STRASBOURG

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović has announced her decision to intervene in a case against jailed Turkish rights activist Osman Kaval before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

“Mr. Kavala lodged an application before the European Court of Human Rights on 8 June 2018, alleging violations of several Articles of the ECHR, which was communicated on 30 August 2018. I have decided to exercise my power under the ECHR and I informed the European Court of Human Rights that I will submit written observations as a third party in the pending case of Mehmet Osman Kavala v. Turkey,” Mijatović said in a statement on Nov. 20.

Kavala was detained in October last year and subsequently jailed pending trial, accused of seeking to overthrow the government as part of an investigation into the Gülen network which Ankara accuses of carrying out a 2016 failed coup.

In a statement marking one year since he was remanded in custody, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch renewed calls at the end of October for Kavala’s immediate and unconditional release.

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No indictment outlining the precise charges against him had so far been issued by prosecutors, their statement said. 

“His detention has had far-reaching effects on human rights defenders and their work in Turkey. As such, I raised his case on several occasions in my official meetings with the Turkish authorities during my contact mission to Turkey last month and called for his speedy release,” Mijatović said in her Nov. 20-dated statement.

“During my contact mission, the Turkish authorities spoke of a normalisation process following the lifting of the state of emergency. However, these latest developments cast serious doubts about this process,” she said, referring to the latest detention of human rights activists last week.

Detention warrants were issued on Nov. 16 for 20 people, including two prominent academics, as part of the Kavala investigation. Turkish police had initially detained 14 human rights activists but later released 12 of them.

“These persons, twelve of whom have subsequently been released under judicial control with a travel ban, include respected partners of my Office and the Council of Europe,” Mijatović said.

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