In Strasbourg, 2 December, the Committee of Ministers voted by majority in favour of the decision that Turkey has, in its opinion, failed to uphold its obligations under Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights to execute the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights by not releasing human rights defender and civil society actor Osman Kavala.
PEN Norway find the refusal of Turkey to free Mr Kavala as wholly disrespectful to the contracts to which Turkey is bound and to the instruments in Europe that are there to defend and uphold the basic human rights of all countries signatory to the ECHR.
No Law – Only Orders?
The court again failed to free Kavala from his illegal detention at the latest hearing in the Gezi Park retrial on the 26 November, 2021. This is despite a decision from the European Court for his release on 10 December 2019.
PEN Norway’s Turkey Adviser Caroline Stockford said of the court’s refusal to release Kavala: “Does this prove that there is no law in Turkey, only orders? We are extremely disappointed that the liberty and security of two men, Kavala and Demirtaş, can be so stubbornly refused as to potentially cause Turkey’s expulsion from the Council of Europe. This is historic and shameful behaviour from a country that signed the contract of the European Convention back in 1953.”
According to Turkey’s Constitution, the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights supercede all law in Turkey.
The Committee of Ministers’ decision was reached by a majority with countries such as Hungary, Poland and Romania voting in favour of Turkey and against further measures.
PEN Norway’s Turkey Indictment project legal expert, Ceren Uysal said, “The statement of the Committee of Ministers can also be read as further confirmation of the judicial harassment of Demirtaş and Kavala. From the point of view of Turkey events have taken a very important turn. The only sensible option at this stage is to immediately – and that means today, with no further delay, to end this injustice by freeing Kavala and Demirtaş.”
Formal notice of the beginning of infringement proceedings will be served on Turkey on 2 February 2022. The Committee allowed until the 19 January, 2022 for Turkey to respond. The next hearing in the trial of Osman Kavala, his fellow Gezi Park defendants and the Beşiktaş football supporters’s group Çarşı takes place on 17 January, 2022.
PEN Norway will once again be monitoring the hearing and we call for Kavala’s swift release from detention, in compliance with the decision of the European Court.