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General rapporteur expresses concern at the arrest of Osman Kavala

The general rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the situation of human rights defenders in Council of Europe member States, Alexandra Louis (France, ALDE), has expressed grave concern about the re-arrest of the Turkish activist Osman Kavala, after he was acquitted on charges of “attempting to overthrow the government and the constitutional order”.

“It is very disturbing that Mr Kavala, a leading figure in Turkish civil society, has been re-arrested, just hours after his acquittal by the Istanbul court, despite the European Court of Human Rights ruling of 10 December 2019 ordering his immediate release. In this respect, I share the concerns expressed by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Ms Marija Pejčinovič-Burić in her letter of 21 February 2020 and I urge the Turkish authorities to provide the requisite clarification.

“Mr Kavala’s re-arrest will have a further chilling effect on the work of human rights defenders in Turkey, which is a matter of great concern to me. I therefore call on the Turkish authorities to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of human rights defenders and to refrain from any intimidation or reprisals against them.”