Germany’s Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth said in a press release issued on June 4, 2020 that the ongoing detention of Turkish philanthropist and human rights activist Osman Kavala, despite the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights of December 10, 2019, is a clear violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Kavala, director of Turkish cultural foundation Anadolu Kültür, has been in prison since October 18, 2017. The European Court of Human Rights determined on December 10, 2019 that Kavala’s prolonged pre-trial detention was in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. It classified his pre-trial detention as politically motivated and called for Kavala’s immediate release. This decision came into force on May 11, 2020, after Turkey’s request to refer the matter to the Grand Chamber of the court was once again rejected. Kavala was acquitted by an Istanbul court on February 18, 2020 but was immediately re-arrested on other charges.
In his statement Roth urged the Turkish government to “respect its international obligations and to implement the ECHR’s judgement swiftly” and said, “Turkey must, at long last, ensure compliance with the rule of law and human rights standards once again.”
The statement came against the backdrop of Germany’s upcoming chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) from November 2020 to May 2021, a fact prompting the German minister to warn, “Germany will continue to closely monitor the case of Osman Kavala during its forthcoming Presidency of the Council of Europe.”
The German statement comes only a couple of days after Human Rights Watch, the International Commission of Jurists and the Turkey Human Rights Litigation Support Project filed a joint submission with the Committee of Ministers, the decision-making body of the CoE, and requested that it urge the Turkish government to release Kavala and drop all charges against him.