The Grand Chamber of the ECtHR ruled by 16 votes to 1 that Turkey has not complied with the 2019 decision of the European Court of Justice on the release of human rights activist and businessman Osman Kavala. In April 2022, he was given a life sentence. Prior to this, Kavala had been imprisoned since the end of 2017. In response, Ankara questioned the European system of human rights protection.
According to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), by not releasing Kavala by the first decision of the European Court, Turkey violated Art. 46.1 on the mandatory execution of the final judgments of the ECtHR.
The Turkish side, in turn, accused the Council of Europe of bias and political motives.
“The ECtHR, unfortunately, did not live up to our expectations with its decision announced today and once again called into question the credibility of the European system for the protection of human rights,” said Ambassador Tanju Bilgic, spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
In 2019, the ECtHR demanded the immediate release of Osman Kavala, who was detained in Istanbul in 2017 for alleged involvement in a failed military coup in Turkey. In addition, he was accused of organizing demonstrations against the policies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2013, as well as receiving funding from American businessman George Soros. The European Court saw political motives in the persecution of the human rights activist and declared his extrajudicial detention illegal. The Turkish Constitutional Court refused to comply with the decision of the ECtHR on the release of a human rights activist.
Kavala was acquitted only in 2020, but after Erdogan criticized the court decision, he was arrested again. This time, the human rights activist was also accused of espionage.
In April 2022, Kavala was sentenced to life in prison without the right to pardon. The decision of the Turkish court was condemned by the United States, Germany and the European Union and demanded that the Turkish authorities release the human rights activist. According to lawyer Pavel Chikov , the Kavala case could cause a serious crisis in relations between Turkey and the Council of Europe, provoking her withdrawal from the organization after Russia.