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Our statement on the unlawful verdict in Gezi Trial


Osman Kavala greets the courtroom once the SEGBIS video-link connection is secured. April 25, 2022. Illustration: Murat Başol

Hafıza Merkezi stands in solidarity with the human rights and civil society community in its condemnation and rejection of the unjust sentence handed down against Osman Kavala, Founder and Chair of the Executive Board of Anadolu Kültür. This decision is unacceptable and incompatible with the principles of civil society. It fails the test of objective legal standards, flouts basic reason, undermines essential human rights of equality and freedom; and is a clear, cynical and unconscionable attempt to silence the entire civil society. Justice must not be silenced. We will not be silenced.

We find unacceptable the aggravated life sentence given to Osman Kavala, after his unfair pre-trial detention of over four and a half years, as well as the 18-year prison sentence and the arrest warrant issued against our colleagues and friends in the struggle for human rights and democracy, Ali Hakan AltınayCan AtalayÇiğdem MaterMine ÖzerdenMücella YapıcıTayfun Kahraman and Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi. This verdict is incompatible with a free and open Turkish civil society. Our demand is simple; the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) should be implemented and our friends should be released immediately and the arrest warrant should be revoked. Turkey is obliged to protect human rights defenders in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations (UN) Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and must be held to this standard.

With unerring resolve, we pledge that we will continue to follow this case and advocate for our colleagues until justice is served.