Germany calls on Turkey to free Kavala, Demirtas
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Turkey should release philanthropist Osman Kavala and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas from prison.
“I reiterate our call to the Turkish authorities to release Osman Kavala, Selahattin Demirtas and others whom the courts have unlawfully ruled to be detained," Baerbock said in an address to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on Tuesday.
German politician urged all member states to respect the European Convention on Human Rights and implement the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Euronews Turkish reported.
An Istanbul court on April 25, convicted Osman Kavala to life in prison without parole for seeking to overthrow the Turkish government by financing the Gezi Park protests of 2013. The 64-year-old human rights activist was arrested in November 2017 and had spent four and a half years behind bars without a conviction ahead of April’s hearing. In 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) called on Turkey to immediately release Kavala, citing lack of evidence and a breach to his rights to freedom. The court said that his arrest was politically motivated.
Imprisoned pro-Kurdish HDP’s former co-chair Selahattin Demirtas on the other hand remains behind bars since his arrest in November 2016 and faces around 150 years in prison over several terrorism charges. The ECHR in December 2020 called on Turkey to immediately release the Kurdish politician, saying that his detention lacked evidence. The ECHR’s Grand Chamber ruled that Demirtas’ imprisonment was politically motivated and his imprisonment violated his rights under five different categories, including freedom of expression and liberty.
Turkey is one of the 46 members of the Council of Europe and is among the founding members of the organization.