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Osman Kavala Nominated for Vaclav Havel Award

Osman Kavala, a businessman who was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment in the Gezi trial, has been nominated for the Vaclav Havel Award, DW reported.

Osman Kavala has been in custody since October 2017. Osman Kavala has been selected as one of the finalists for the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Award.

Businessman Osman Kavala, who was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment in the Gezi trial, has been chosen as one of the three finalists for the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Award, which is awarded annually by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to human rights defenders.

In addition to Osman Kavala, Justyna Wydrzynska (Poland) and Yevgeniy Zakharov (Ukraine) were also selected as finalists by the Vaclav Havel Award panel, which convened in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, today.

Kavala and the Council of Europe Osman Kavala has remained on the agenda of the Council of Europe since 2019, following the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in his favor against Ankara for violations of his rights. The ECHR concluded that Kavala’s detention and conditions of imprisonment were in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and ordered his “immediate release.”

The ECHR’s decision on Kavala has been on the agenda of the Council of Europe’s decision-making body, the Committee of Ministers, since 2020. The Committee of Ministers is expected to take up the issue in more comprehensive form in the coming weeks. The matter is also being discussed in the Council of Europe’s reports on Turkey, which include references to the Vaclav Havel Award. Council of Europe rapporteurs for Turkey visited Kavala in Silivri Prison earlier this year.

Other Finalists Among the other finalists, Polish lawyer Justyna Wydrzynska is known as one of the leading women’s rights advocates in her country. She was included in the list of Vaclav Havel Award finalists due to her ongoing activism against restrictive abortion laws in Poland as a pioneer of the “Abortion Dream Team” collective since 2006.

The last finalist, Yevgeniy Zakharov, is among the leading human rights defenders in his country, Ukraine. He is the founder of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and the director of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, known for documenting pressure on conscientious objectors in Ukraine and former Soviet republics. Zakharov is also one of the founders of the civil society coalition “Tribunal for Putin,” which collects evidence on war crimes committed by Russians in 2022.

Award Ceremony on October 9 The winner of the Vaclav Havel Award will be announced during the general assembly meetings of PACE, which will take place in Strasbourg from October 9 to 13, 2023.

The award, presented by PACE in collaboration with the Vaclav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation based in Prague since 2013, includes a diploma, a plaque, and a prize of 60,000 euros.

In 2017, the award was given to Murat Arslan, the former president of the YARSAV, who was on trial for being a member of the Gülen movement, a decision that led to Ankara reducing its contribution to the Council of Europe’s budget in protest.

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