BHRC Interim Trial Report: The “Gezi Park” trial continues with the ongoing detention of Osman Kavala in defiance of ECHR decision ordering his immediate release, as proceedings unravel

Following on from our previous trial observations of June, October and December 2019, BHRC has published an interim trial report of the “Gezi Park” trial of sixteen leading civil society individuals in Turkey, including Osman Kavala and Yiğit Aksakoğlu. The interim report covers the latest hearing in the case, which was in session for a day on 28 January 2020 at a court situated in Silivri Prison outside of Istanbul. Mr Kavala remains the only defendant still in custody and has now been detained for over 27 months.

It is a matter of ever-growing concern that Mr Kavala continues to be detained in respect of an indictment which is gravely flawed, and in defiance of an unequivocal decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on 10 December 2019 calling for his immediate release from custody. Instead, it is evident that Turkey is continuing with a meritless prosecution that has little to do with ordinary and proper trial procedures. The defendants remain accused of the gravest charges, facing aggravated life sentences upon conviction. The deviation from legitimate prosecutorial aims and fair trial standards is hugely worrying.

The report notes that the proceedings were in marked and depressing contrast to the written submissions made by Turkey to the UN Human Rights Council, which was in session at Geneva on the same day as part of the Universal Periodic Review of Turkey’s observance of human rights.

Mr Kavala continues to be detained in defiance of an unequivocal decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on 10 December 2019 calling for his immediate release from custody.

BHRC considers that there is no proper basis for Mr Kavala to remain in detention and it calls for him to be released immediately.

Kevin Dent QC attended the hearing on behalf of BHRC. BHRC will continue to follow and monitor the trial this week alongside our partner, Article 19, and other international observers. The next hearing will be on 18 February 2020.

See previous BHRC statements and updates on the trial below: