Council of Europe ready to use 'all means’ to secure Kavala’s release

The Council of Europe said on Thursday that it was ready to use all the means at its disposal to secure the release of philanthropist and human rights activist Osman Kavala from detention in Turkey.

Kavala has been held in police custody since October 2017 on various charges linked to nationwide Gezi Park protests in 2013 and the failed military coup in 2016.

The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly ruled for his release, citing a lack of evidence that Kavala had committed any offence and political motivations for his prolonged detention.

Following a meeting of its Council of Ministers this week, the Council of Europe reiterated the ECHR’s decision and again called for Kavala to be freed immediately.

The European body rejected a recent ruling by Turkey’s Constitutional Court that Kavala’s fundamental rights had not been violated during his detention, saying no new evidence had been presented to contradict the original ECHR judgment.

“(Kavala’s) continuing pre-trial detention and the pending proceedings brought against him reinforce the conclusion that the national authorities, including the courts, fail to take into account the European Court’s findings,” the Council of Europe said.

In doing so, Turkey was in breach of article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which requires compliance with ECHR rulings, it said.

The Council of Europe said it was ready “to ensure the implementation of the judgment by actively considering using all the means at the disposal of the Organisation”.

Possible sanctions include the removal of Turkey’s voting rights at the council or complete expulsion from the European body.

Turkey was last suspended from the Council of Europe for failing to form a democratic government following the 1981 military coup.