Turkey must swiftly free Osman Kavala

Press release
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Rupen Janbazian / Creative Commons

Paris, 27 April 2022. The French Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) denounce in the strongest possible terms the life sentence handed down to Osman Kavala on 25 April 2022 by the Istanbul Court, as well as the 18-year prison sentences handed down to the seven other defendants.

Businessman, publisher, and philanthropist Osman Kavala — imprisoned since 2017 on charges of "organising and financing the Gezi protests in 2013," and "involvement in the attempted coup in 2016" — is deeply committed to Turkish heritage and cultural diversity. He has supported numerous non-governmental organisations (NGOs), leading to him being accused of financing terrorism. Most notably, in 2017 he called for a boycott of the referendum proposing a shift from a parliamentary to a presidential system granting more powers to Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Mr Kavala’s imprisonment led to the European Court of Human Rights condemnation of Turkey, whose authorities are multiplying repressive measures against opposition figures and human rights defenders.

LDH and FIDH urge the France’s President Emmanuel Macron to intervene with President Erdoğan to obtain Osman Kavala’s immediate release and, failing that, to act within the European Union to impose sanctions on Turkey.

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