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Turkey: PEN Centres worldwide call for the acquittal of all defendants in the Gezi hearing, and for the immediate release of Osman Kavala

jueves 20 mayo 2021 - 10:14am

Osman Kavala

20 May 2021 – We, the undersigned PEN Centres, condemn the continued judicial harassment of all defendants in the Gezi trial, the new hearing of which takes place tomorrow. We further call for all charges against the defendants in this case to be dropped and for the publisher, civil society actor and human rights defender Osman Kavala’s immediate and unconditional release from prison.

Osman Kavala has spent over three-and-a-half years behind bars. First detained in October 2017, he was officially charged 16 months after his arrest – accused of being responsible for crimes allegedly committed by protestors across Turkey during the 2013 Gezi Park protests. Kavala faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole, with an additional 20-year sentence for ‘espionage’. He remains in pre-trial detention in Silivri Prison, outside Istanbul.

In December 2019, the European Court of Human Rights ruled for Osman Kavala’s immediate release, as it found his detention ‘pursued an ulterior purpose…namely that of reducing [him] to silence’. Yet the Turkish authorities continue to ignore the binding judgement of the Court and decisions from the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.

The majority of defendants in this case were acquitted in February 2020. The prosecutor’s appeal against their acquittals was upheld in November 2020 and a retrial was ordered. We call for this prolonged, judicial harassment to end.

Representatives of PEN Centres have been present at every one of the hearings in the Gezi cases and observed the judicial theatre that took place, and which has no basis in law. We support the defendants in this case for exercising their constitutional rights to assembly and demonstration.

We urgently call for Osman Kavala’s immediate and unconditional release from prison, and for all charges to be dropped against the defendants in this case.

SIGNATORIES

  1. PEN International
  2. PEN America
  3. PEN Bangladesh
  4. PEN Belarus
  5. PEN Bosnia-Herzegovina
  6. PEN Català
  7. PEN Club of Cuban Writers in Exile
  8. Danish PEN
  9. English PEN
  10. PEN Esperanto
  11. German PEN
  12. PEN Iraq
  13. Irish PEN/PEN na hÉireann
  14. PEN Gambia
  15. PEN Guinea-Bissau
  16. Kurdish PEN
  17. PEN Liechtenstein
  18. PEN Malawi
  19. PEN Melbourne
  20. PEN Moscow
  21. PEN Myanmar
  22. PEN Netherlands
  23. PEN Nigeria
  24. PEN Norway
  25. PEN Philippines
  26. PEN Portugal
  27. PEN Québec
  28. PEN Romania
  29. San Miguel de Allende PEN
  30. Scottish PEN
  31. PEN Sierra Leone
  32. PEN South India Centre
  33. PEN Trieste
  34. PEN Turkey
  35. PEN Uganda
  36. Vietnamese Abroad PEN Centre
  37. Wales PEN Cymru