Turkey: ICJ alerts Council of Europe institutions to continued arbitrary detention in spite of European Court judgments

The ICJ has written to the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Rapporteurs on Turkey of the Parliamentary Assembly to alert them to the continued detention of Selahattin Demirtaş and Osman Kavala despite rulings by the European Court of Human Rights.

The International Commission of Jurists recalled that in both the Demirtaş and Kavala cases the European Court of Human Rights, in finding a violation of article 18 ECHR, determined that the detention of the applicants had been ordered in pursuance of an ulterior purpose than those allowed by article 5.1 ECHR.

That purpose was silencing of human rights and other activists, stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate and utilizing pre-trial detention as a method of arbitrary punishment.

 The Turkish government is however not releasing the applicants on the ground that the Chamber judgments have not yet become final.

Meanwhile, the authorities have initiated new investigations against both Demirtas and Kavala, and issued new detention orders on similar though not identical charges as those reviewed in the Court’s judgments, with the apparent intent not to implement the ECtHR judgments.

The ICJ considers that these developments may be seen as integral to the ulterior purpose identified by the Court in its Kavala and Demirtaş decisions. Under these conditions, both Kavala and Demirtaş may expect their arbitrary detention to be continued for an unlimited period of time through arrest orders based on fabricated investigations.

The ICJ further reiterated the importance of enabling access to alternatives to detention for all pre-trial detainees who may be at risk because of COVID-19 if they do not pose a current threat to public safety, regardless of the nature of the offences with which they have been charged. It stressed that, since Mr. Demirtaş and Kavala, along with many politicians and human rights defenders accused of security related offences in Turkey, do not pose a threat to public safety, they should be released as soon as possible.

ICJ-Letter-DemirtasKavala-PACERapporteurs-2020-eng (download the letter to the PACE Rapporteurs)

ICJ-Letter-KavalaDemirtas-CommissionerHR-2020-eng (download the letter to the Commissioner for Human Rights)


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