Statement by Osman Kavala on the 1000th Day of His Imprisonment

When I was arrested on two charges a thousand days ago and as I kept waiting for the indictment to be issued for the ensuing 16 months, all that happened to me - I thought - would expose and make visible the problems in detention practices, and would be corrected after the State of Emergency. But now I understand that unlawful practices in politically motivated cases are not considered as a problem; they have become essential elements of the new duties and functions entrusted to the judiciary after the institutionalization of the state of emergency mindset.

In our country, there are courts that work in full compliance with the Constitution and the law; there are members of the judiciary who adopt and defend the legal norms. However, when it comes to certain cases that involve either a domain identified by the government as a political priority or persons chosen by the government, the judiciary is expected to act in line with the political priorities, and not in accordance with legal norms. A parallel law enforcement system has been set in motion, which enables to keep in prison the persons who “needed” to be punished, regardless of the established facts and concrete information about their activities.

As long as the instrumentalization of the judiciary continues, in politically-motivated cases, it will not be possible to see a due process that follows legal norms. I also believe that division of bar associations with the new regulation will make the judiciary more vulnerable to political influence.

Despite all this, and despite being one of the individuals to feel the burden of this deteriorating situation, I have not lost my hope. If the public at large, civil society, and most importantly political actors can collectively concentrate and collaborate on advocating the principles of the rule of law, it may be possible to halt such a shift, and to empower the members of the judiciary who defend the legal norms. 

Regarding my own situation, I believe that after the new charges invented at the last minute to continue my detention, we have reached such a point that it will no longer be possible to find a legal cover for the ongoing lawlessness.

Osman Kavala, 27 July 2020