An Istanbul court decided on Monday to hold in Turkish activist Osman Kavala, detained without trial for more than four years, in prison despite the threat from the Council of Europe to impose sanctions on Ankara.
The judges adjourned the session for a brief deliberation before the verdict was delivered, after a quick session on Monday morning, in absence of Kavala, according to “AFP”.
Osman Kavala, 64, a leading figure in civil society, faces life imprisonment after the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused him of trying to destabilize Turkey.
In addition to Kavala’s wife, they were present in European diplomats, especially French, German and American diplomats, and the European Parliament rapporteur for Turkey, Nando Sanchez Amor.
Ankara faces threat of sanctions imposed by the Council of Europe for keeping the activist in detention without trial.
Since 2019 the European Court of Human Rights has requested his release and in early February the Council of Europe presented a new petition to this court.
Turkey’s failure to implement the European Court’s decision could result in Ankara losing the right to vote or even expulsion from the body it joined in 1950.
But Turkey denounces “the attack on the independence of judicial procedures”.
“It is difficult to understand why Turkey has not respected the orders of the court, knowing that it is part of this body, because the consequences will not escape,” the rapporteur of the European Parliament told AFP.
For his part, Nando Sanchez Amor stressed that “Turkey is a founding member (of the Council of Europe), so the issue is not a question of foreign interference”, considering that this behavior “damages the country’s image”.
Kavala, arrested 1539 days ago, has become an opponent of the regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and one of the symbols of the deterioration of human rights in Turkey. Authorities are targeting him in particularly for his support for the 2013 anti-government demonstrations against Erdogan, then prime minister.
The case of Kavala has taken on another dimension since dozens of ambassadors in autumn demanded his release, sparking a diplomatic crisis, and Erdogan threatened them with deportation as a retaliatory measure before backing down.
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