STRASBOURG: The Council of Europe on Monday (Oct 9) awarded its prime rights prize to jailed Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala, who has come underneath repeated assault from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The choice drew an indignant response from Ankara, however was cheered on by teams which have lengthy expressed worries about Türkiye’s deteriorating human rights document underneath Erdogan.
Kavala, 66, confronted alternating fees which have ranged from espionage and financing the 2013 protests to collaborating in a failed 2016 coup towards Erdogan.
He was arrested in October 2017 and sentenced to life in 2022 for allegedly making an attempt to topple Erdogan’s authorities.
“I am very unhappy he can’t be with us to obtain this prize, this significant prize,” his spouse, Ayse Bugra Kavala, stated, accepting the award from Tiny Kox, president of the Parliamentary Meeting of the Council of Europe.
In a letter written from jail, learn out by his spouse, Kavala stated he was honoured by the choice, and devoted the prize to his “fellow residents unlawfully saved in jail”.
However in a press release issued late Monday, the Turkish overseas ministry condemned the “unacceptable” award.
“Giving the award to an individual who has a closing conviction is an extension of makes an attempt to politicise the regulation,” the Turkish ministry stated, accusing the rights physique of pursuing a “political agenda”.
The Council of Europe stated Kavala had supported a number of civil society organisations for the reason that Nineties and that the strikes towards him have been geared toward gagging critics and stifling dissent.
Türkiye’s refusal to abide by European Courtroom of Human Rights rulings to instantly launch Kavala have torn at Ankara’s relations with Western allies.
The Council of Europe has launched infringement proceedings towards Türkiye over its therapy of Kavala.
That might doubtlessly see Ankara expelled from the continent’s main human rights organisation.
Critics say it additionally highlights the deterioration of Türkiye’s rights document within the second decade of Erdogan’s rule.
Türkiye’s supreme court docket final month upheld Kavala’s conviction and life imprisonment on the cost of trying to overthrow Erdogan’s authorities throughout large-scale protests in 2013.
Kavala, who was born in France and graduated with a level in economics from the College of Manchester in Britain, shouldn’t be eligible for parole or in a position to attraction.
He was detained six years in the past and acquitted in February 2020 of involvement within the 2013 protests or the 2016 coup.
However he was instantly rearrested and charged with espionage. The court docket then introduced new fees that included ones he had already been cleared of within the first trial.
“I WILL STAY LONG”
Kavala stated final month that the choice by the highest appeals court docket to uphold his life sentence disregarded regulation and human life.
European officers and human rights activists condemned the affirmation of Kavala’s sentence.
The choice “additional will increase the considerations of the European Union relating to the Turkish Judiciary’s adherence to worldwide and European requirements,” Peter Stano, spokesman for the EU’s prime diplomat Josep Borrell, stated on the time.
Final month the European Union’s enlargement commissioner advised candidate nation Türkiye to handle points round democracy and the rule of regulation if it desires to spice up its drive to hitch the bloc.
Enis Berberoglu, an opposition lawmaker who has served time in jail, visited Kavala after the ruling was issued.
“(Kavala) advised me he noticed the court docket resolution on tv… whereas writing a letter,” Berberoglu advised AFP.
“When he was writing ‘if I needed to keep right here longer’ … he noticed the flash on TV and wrote within the letter ‘I feel I’ll keep lengthy'”, the lawmaker stated.
Berberoglu stated Kavala’s response to the ruling was: “This resolution is a results of an understanding that doesn’t worth regulation or human life”.
However the lawmaker famous: “I noticed him in good morale.”
Türkiye’s opposition chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu paid his first go to to Kavala on Friday, saying he needed “to make injustice extra seen”.
“Nobody must be judged for his or her ideas,” Turkish media quoted Kilicdaroglu as saying outdoors Kavala’s jail.
Kavala was one among tens of 1000’s of Turks who have been both jailed or fired from their jobs in purges that adopted a bloody coup try towards Erdogan in 2016.