Anadolu Kültür Executive Board Chair, rights advocate and businessperson Osman Kavala, who was arrested on November 1, 2017 and is still held in Silivri Prison, sent a letter at the seventh month of his arrest.
In his letter dated June 11, Kavala announced that he has applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), emphasizing that his application to the ECtHR "is not an appeal to an unjustified court decision, but an appeal against a long detention without trial."
The full version of the letter published on the website Free Osman Kavala is as follows:
"As of the end of May, the seventh month of my detention in Silivri was completed. We are waiting for the indictment to be prepared. Our requests for release have been rejected. Given that nothing demonstrated during my interrogation constitutes solid evidence, I requested to see the evidence in my file, if there is any, in order to be able to provide explanation. We could not get any response to this request.
"After having applied to the Constitutional Court, we lodged an application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). I think that the ECHR, as one of the bodies of the Council of Europe, is one of the most functional institutions of Europe in terms of the scope of countries it covers and the way it affects the lives of those living in these countries. It is acknowledged, by the citizens as well as the governments, that compared to the national courts the ECHR has more competent knowledge on the European Convention of Human Rights and monitors the decisions of the national courts according to these norms.
"My application to the ECHR –like many other applications made in similar situations - is not an appeal to an unjustified court decision, but an appeal against a long detention without trial. It is about the denial of presumption of innocence and, above all, the value attributed to human freedom. Although applying to the ECHR is a reassuring right, it hurts to declare that the country of which you are a citizen does not value your freedom...
"I wish happy holidays in peace and good health to all the friends and acquaintances."
Anadolu Kültür Executive Board Chair, human rights advocate and businessperson Osman Kavala was taken into custody in the evening hours on October 18 at İstanbul Atatürk Airport upon his return from a meeting of a project planned to be realized in cooperation with Goethe Institute in Antep.
He was targeted by some pro-government newspapers following his detention.
Speaking at the weekly group meeting of his party, President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan referred to Kavala as the "Soros of Turkey", mentioning his name and said:
"Some try to deflect the truth by means of praises attributed to him such as 'He was a good citizen, a media member, an NGO representative'. The identity of this figure called 'Soros of Turkey' has been uncovered. That was his name that came up in Consulate General [investigation]. All connections have surfaced. And there is the same person behind the incidents in Taksim. You see those people again behind funds transfer to certain places. Who are you trying to fool?"
His detention also sparked criticism on international level.
US thinker and professor in linguistics, Noam Chomsky, United States Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert and European Parliament Rapporteur for Turkey Kati Piri denounced Kavala's detention and demanded that he be released immediately.
On October 31, a group of 35 academics, writers and researchers coming together under the guidance of the European Network on Political Group Analysis Jean-François Bayart, addressed an open letter to President Erdoğan for Kavala's release.
About Osman Kavala
Kavala was born in Paris in 1957. He graduated from Department of Economy at Manchester University.
He has been working as executive at Kavala Group since 1982.
He participated in the foundation of Turkey's one of the most prominent publishing houses, İletişim Publications, with Murat Belge.
He served as member of administrative boards of business institutions and NGOs such as Turkey-Poland Business Council, Turkey-Greece Business Council, and Center For Democracy in Southeast Europe.
Kavala is a member of Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) Administrative Board, Open Society Institute Consulting Board, and supporter of Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, History Foundation and Diyarbakır Culture House. (AS/SD)
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