Amnesty International Names Osman Kavala and “Gezi 7” Jailed in Turkey as Prisoners of Conscience

Amnesty International on Friday named a human rights defender sentenced to life and six co-defendants who were given 18-year jail terms by the Turkish judiciary, as prisoners of conscience.

On 25 April, Osman Kavala was arrested and prosecuted for “attempting to overthrow the government,” after he was accused of playing a leadership role in the largely peaceful 2013 Gezi Park mass protests.

Amnesty International said that Kavala has been in jail since November 2017 despite the prosecuting authorities failing to provide any evidence to substantiate their claims.  

Kavala’s seven co-defendants, architect Mucella Yapıcı, city planner Tayfun Kahraman, lawyer Can Atalay, documentary film-maker Mine Ozerden, and film producer Cigdem Mater, higher education director Hakan Altınay and university founder Yigit Ekmekci, were also convicted for assisting Kavala. They were each sentenced to 18 years.

Amnesty International’s Secretary-General, Agnes Callamard said that naming these seven people as prisoners of conscience “is a recognition of the chronicle of injustice they have suffered beginning with arbitrary detention and politically-motivated prosecutions.”

Callamard said that the shocking injustice meted out to the Gezi Park defendants exposes again how Turkey’s judicial system has become a “repressive tool to silence dissent.”

Amnesty International reiterated that the Gezi Park defendants are prisoners of conscience and demanded their immediate and unconditional release.

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