Responding to reports regarding today’s decision by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers to refer Turkey to the European Court of Human Rights for failing to release human rights defender Osman Kavala, Amnesty International’s Europe Director Nils Muižnieks said:
“With this landmark decision today, Turkey is on the dock not only for its refusal to free a prominent human rights defender from arbitrary detention, but also for a gross failure of its justice system epitomised by the Kavala case. After more than four years behind bars, we sincerely hope that the authorities will now do the right thing and free Osman Kavala.
“The vote makes clear that by pursuing further farcical charges without any evidence against Osman Kavala, Turkey’s judicial system is simply trying to keep him behind bars come what may and that the Council of Europe, of which Turkey is a founding member, will not stand by idly and watch.
“The message from the Committee of Ministers today is clear: Turkey must release Osman Kavala and end his politically motivated persecution.”