Luxembourg's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Jean Asselborn, has issued a statement following the re-arrest of human rights activist Osman Kavala in Turkey.
On Tuesday, Turkish businessman and human rights activist Osman Kavala was re-arrested just hours after his acquittal; Mr Kavala had spent over two years in prison for his alleged role in the Gezi Park protests in Turkey in 2013. Despite a court decision ordering his release, Osman Kavala was re-arrested for having allegedly participated in failed attempts to overthrow the Turkish government in 2016.
In a statement released on Wednesday evening, Luxembourg's Foreign Affairs Minister described this new arrest as "very worrying". Jean Asselborn stated: "The hostile environment in which the civil society and the human rights defenders operate in Turkey has reached an unprecedented level, as has the disregard of the most basic principles of law. The case against Osman Kavala is symptomatic of the situation of human rights defenders and all those peacefully exerting their right to freedom of expression – online and offline – and who are silenced by such procedures".
Minister Asselborn went on to recall that, as of December 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), had found no evidence supporting the alleged implication of Osman Kavala in this attempted coup. Reiterating Luxembourg's position, the Foreign Affairs Minister stated: "Thus, without swift clarifications on possible new verifiable and tangible evidence against Mr. Kavala, Luxembourg calls on Turkey to stop the continuing violation of the European Convention on Human Rights – in particular its article 18 – and to respect the standards of the rule of law, which it committed to applying".
Minister Asselborn concluded: "Luxembourg will also continue to closely monitor the trial of the "Büyükada 10" and Taner Kılıç and calls on Turkey to uphold and fully implement its international legal obligations, in particular the European Convention on Human Rights".
Indeed, Taner Kılıç is a fellow Turkish civil rights activist and one of the founding members (and current president) of Amnesty International Turkey. He was arrested in 2017 for alleged terrorist activities during the 2016–17 purges in Turkey. In 2018, the court order of his conditional release was overruled. He is one of ten Turkish activists known as the "Büyükada 10".