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02/11/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) –  A Turkish court recently ruled to keep Osama Kavala in solitary confinement. Kavala has been imprisoned since November 2017 on false allegations of espionage and coup attempts.

Nine European rights ambassadors issued a joint statement calling for Kavala’s immediate release and cited concern for human rights, rule of law and Turkey’s judiciary record. Kavala’s last appeal to the Constitutional Court ruled that his over three-year detention without a conviction did not violate his fundamental rights. The European Court of Human Rights previously stated that his detention is politically motivated, seeking to silence and thwart activists.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also publicly slandered Kavala’s wife, Ayse Bugra. President Erdogan accused Bugra, a teacher and prominent academic, of inciting students to protest at Bogazici University. He claimed that the protests were not led by students, but instigated by the faculty at the school. Bugra was reportedly shaken and hurt by the accusation.

Kavala’s detainment is not the only similar case ongoing in the courts. A criminal case is wrapping up over the assassination of Hrant Dink, the former Editor-in-Chief of Agos Newspaper. Former security officials are on trial for “intentional killing by act of negligence” after there was no protection order issued for Dink when known threats were levied against him. Dink’s case involves some 50 defendants with varying degrees of involvement in the 2007 murder. Dink, who was Turkish-Armenian, was well known for his involvement in advocating for human rights, discussion on the Armenian Genocide, and promoting Turkish-Armenian reconciliation.

ICC’s joint report analyzes Turkey’s detainment of Kavala, delving into deeper religious freedom abuses. Though Kavala and Dink are primarily a civil activists, Turkey sees all conversations promoting diversity or memorializing the country’s past as threats to the pan-Turkish ideologies.

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