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.

European Court’s Osman Kavala judgment becomes final

European Court’s Osman Kavala judgment becomes final

The European Court of Human Rights rejects Turkey’s request for the chamber judgment in Osman Kavala’s application to be referred to the Grand Chamber




The European Court of Human Rights has rejected Turkey’s request for the chamber judgment in Osman Kavala’s application to be referred to the Grand Chamber, finalizing the 10 December 2019 judgment which held that Kavala’s detention on remand violated his right to liberty and security and that Turkey should secure his immediate release.


Kavala’s lawyer İlkan Koyuncu told P24 that the European Court’s decision to reject Turkey’s referral request proved a violation of Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as was held in the 10 December 2019 chamber judgment, and that keeping Kavala behind bars was a decision of the political authority. Koyuncu said that the judiciary needed to weigh in on the case against Osman Kavala.


“In an attempt to outmaneuver the European Court of Human Rights judgment and to keep Osman Kavala behind bars, [the prosecution] has been constantly coming up with new charges against my client, based on the same acts and as part of the same investigation. This latest decision by the European Court tells us that Article 18 of the Convention was indeed violated and Kavala is jailed because of the political authority’s desire to keep him behind bars. The judiciary needs to use its judicial power,” Koyuncu said.


Kavala, a businessman and civil society figure, was jailed pending trial in November 2017 as part of two separate investigations -- one in connection with the Gezi Park protests and the other with the 15 June 2016 coup attempt.


The Gezi Park investigation resulted in an indictment, where Kavala and 15 others were accused of “attempting to overthrow the government of the Turkish Republic.” At the end of the Gezi Park trial in February, Kavala was acquitted by the trial court. However, several hours after his acquittal, a new arrest warrant was issued for Kavala in connection with the 15 July 2016 coup investigation and he was subsequently re-arrested and jailed pending trial on the allegation of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order.”


Kavala is still in detention on remand in the Silivri Prison as part of the coup investigation. He was re-arrested for a third time on 9 March 2020 on the charge of “political or military espionage” under Article 328 of the Turkish Penal Code, based on “new evidence” in the investigation.