Germany demands immediate release of Turkish activist Kavala

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Photo by PETRAS MALUKAS / AFP)

Germany’s foreign minister demanded on Monday that Turkish activist Osman Kavala be “released immediately” after an İstanbul court sentenced the critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to life in prison, Agence France-Presse reported.

“We expect Osman Kavala to be freed immediately,” Annalena Baerbock said in a statement, adding that the European Court of Human Rights had asked Turkey to do so.

She said the İstanbul court’s decision was “blatantly in contradiction with the norms of the rule of law and international obligations Turkey has signed up to as a member of the Council of Europe and EU membership candidate.”

A leading figure in Turkey’s civil society, Kavala was accused of financing protests against Erdoğan’s government in 2013 and involvement in a failed military coup in 2016.

The 64-year-old had been detained for more than four years before Monday’s verdict, and his plight had soured relations between Ankara and Western nations.

A diplomatic crisis was triggered last year when Turkey threatened to expel 10 Western ambassadors, including the US envoy, after they demanded Kavala’s release.

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