Turkey: Failure to free Osman Kavala and Selahattin Demirtaş makes mockery of Erdogan’s “Human Rights Action Plan”

Responding to the calls by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on the Turkish government to implement binding European Court of Human Rights judgments and release human rights defender, Osman Kavala and politician Selahattin Demirtaş, Amnesty International’s Europe Director Nils Muižnieks said:

“Osman Kavala and Selahattin Demirtaş have been arbitrarily and unjustly deprived of their liberty for years, despite the binding Court decisions that they be released.

“Their continued detention makes a mockery of President Erdoğan’s government’s attempts to whitewash systemic human rights abuses by unveiling a meaningless Human Rights Action Plan last week.

“This action plan and Turkey’s generic platitudes cannot hide the reality: the ongoing imprisonment of these two men, and scores of others, for simply exercising their rights shows that in Turkey, freedom of expression is ruthlessly punished.

“Turkish authorities must release Kavala and Demirtaş, allow human rights defenders to do their work and stop putting undue pressure on their judges. It is high time that states across Europe tell Turkey that prosecuting and imprisoning people for political reasons is unacceptable.

“The Committee of Ministers’ decision to keep Turkey under its watch on a weekly basis is a welcome step ahead of an infringement procedure.”