Germany calls for release of Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala

The German government's Commissioner for Human Rights Policy at the Federal Foreign Office, called on Turkey to release philanthropist and human rights activist Osman Kavala on Tuesday, Deutsche Welle said.

Kavala, chairman of Anadolu Kültür, a civil society organisation supporting cultural diversity inside and outside Turkey, has been in detention since 2017. The businessman is accused of espionage related to the July 2016 coup attempt.

On 10 December 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) described Kavala’s long period in pre-trial detention as a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and called for his immediate release. This decision became final on May 11 with the rejection of Turkey’s request that the matter again be referred to the Grand Chamber of the ECHR. 

"I, therefore, call on the Turkish Government to meet the obligations it has entered into under the European Convention on Human Rights," Deutsche Welle quoted Bärbel Kofler as saying.

The Turkish parliament enacted a penal reform bill on Apr. 14 to release some 90,000 of the country’s 300,000 prison inmates on early parole and probation. But the bill failed to include those imprisoned over terrorism offences, including politicians, journalist, human rights activist like Kavala serving lengthy terms for opposing the Turkish government.

"I encourage Turkey to make a humanitarian gesture also in respect of those not covered by the existing amnesty arrangements," Kofler said.