Expression Interrupted

Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.

Constitutional Court rejects Osman Kavala’s application

Constitutional Court rejects Osman Kavala’s application

Ruling by a majority of 8 votes to 7, the Plenary finds “no violations” in Kavala’s application against his ongoing detention on “espionage” charge


The Constitutional Court’s Plenary issued its judgment concerning jailed businessperson and civil society leader Osman Kavala’s application against his ongoing detention on 29 December 2020, finding “no violation” of the right to liberty and security.


The Plenary ruled by a majority of eight votes to seven.


The application was filed earlier this year after Kavala was re-arrested on “coup” charges immediately following his acquittal and release in February in the Gezi Park trial.


This was the second Constitutional Court application on behalf of Kavala. The application filed in December 2017 against his initial detention was rejected by the Plenary on 22 May 2019, about a month before the first hearing of the Gezi Park trial. That judgment was rendered through a majority vote of 10 to five.


Kavala, who was first jailed in November 2017, has been behind bars for 1,155 days despite an acquittal judgment and a European Court of Human Rights judgment ordering his release.


On 10 December 2019, the European Court of Human Rights held that Kavala’s pre-trial detention violated his right to liberty and security and his right to a speedy decision on the lawfulness of his detention, and that Turkey should secure his immediate release. The ECtHR’s judgment became final in May, when the Court rejected Turkey’s request that the chamber judgment in Kavala’s application be referred to the Grand Chamber.


Earlier this month, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which supervises the implementation of ECtHR judgments, adopted an Interim Resolution in which it “strongly urged” Turkey to ensure Kavala’s immediate release and that the Constitutional Court completes its examination of his complaint without further delay and “in a manner compatible with the spirit and conclusions of the European Court’s judgment.” The Committee of Ministers will resume its examination of the case at the latest at its next meeting, which is set for March 2021.


Kavala is currently detained on “espionage” charge as part of his new trial, which began on 18 December at the Istanbul 36th High Criminal Court. The next hearing of the trial, where Kavala and US academic and former State Department official Henri Barkey are charged with “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and “political or military espionage,” is set for 5 February.