Justice Ministry one again rejects Osman Kavala's request for retrial

Osman Kavala's request for a retrial has been denied once again by the Justice Ministry.

Osman Kavala, one other Gezi Resstance prisoners, has seen his request for a retrial rejected once again by the Justice Ministry.

Kavala is a human rights defender and philanthropist. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in 2022 on charges of attempting to overthrow the government during the 2013 Gezi Park protests.

Kavala had sought a retrial based on what his defense argued were significant procedural violations and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) rulings, which highlighted the arbitrary nature of his detention and called for his immediate release. Turkish courts have so far defied this decision.

The ministry’s General Directorate of Criminal Affairs dismissed the retrial request, saying that the decision of the Istanbul court was appropriate considering the context and evidence of the case. The court noted that the arguments for retrial had already been presented and dismissed during previous appeal processes, thus upholding the initial verdict.

Osman Kavala

Businessman and rights defender Osman Kavala was detained on 18 October 2017, in an investigation into the 2013 Gezi Park protests. He was arrested on 1 November and placed in the Marmara (Silivri) Prison.

He was accused of allegedly attempting to 'overthrow the government' in the context of the Gezi protests and 'the constitutional order' in the context of the July 15 coup attempt.

He was acquitted in the Gezi Trial on 18 February 2020. However, he was not released. On the day of his acquittal, he was re-arrested on charges of attempting to 'overthrow the constitutional order.’ On 9 March 2020, he was arrested again for the same trial, this time on charges of 'political or military espionage'.

The acquittal decision in the Gezi trial was overturned, and he was retried. On 25 April 2022, he was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment for 'attempting to overthrow the government'. The appeals court upheld the decision.

Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), in its decision of 10 December 2019, said that Osman Kavala's detention was arbitrary and based on political motives, ruling that he should be released immediately. As this did not happen, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe initiated a 'violation procedure' against Turkey.

In its decision on 11 July 2022, the ECtHR Grand Chamber ruled that "[the decision of 10 December 2019] regarding Kavala, which found a violation of Article 5 in connection with Article 18 of the ECtHR, would render any action based on accusations related to the Gezi Park events and the coup attempt null and void."

The Turkish courts ignored and did not implement the legally binding nature of these two decisions.