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Asia and the Pacific
Western Asia

Türkiye - September 2023

Appeals court upholds life sentence for Osman Kavala

On 28 September the court of cassation, the Supreme Court of Appeals, upheld human rights defender Osman Kavala’s life sentence in prison. He was originally sentenced in April 2022 after being held in detention since 2017 for alleged involvement in anti-government protests in 2013. The 2022 ruling also included 18-year sentences for seven others, three of which were overturned. The appeals court decision has been widely condemned by human rights organisations, which coordinated by Human Rights Watch, have issued a statement describing it as a “political show trial” and a punishment “for the legitimate exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly”. In 2019 the European Court of Human Rights ruled the detentions to be unlawful and requested that the seven detainees be freed, launching infringement proceedings against the country in 2022 after it failed to abide by the judgement. Türkiye may now face suspension from the Council of Europe.

Sources: Gazete Duvar, Human Rights Watch, European Court of Human Rights (1), European Court of Human Rights (2), Reuters

Primary categories and factors
Rule of Law -1 Rule of Law  (-1)
Judicial Independence
Predictable Enforcement
Secondary categories and factors
Rights Rights
Civil Liberties
Freedom of Association and Assembly

Anti-LGBTQIA+ ‘family course’ introduced in schools

The Minister of National Education, Yusuf Tekin, has introduced the ‘Family in Turkish Society’ elective course to schools. The course is explicitly anti-LGBTQIA+ and emphasises the ‘traditional family’ as a core value of Turkish society. The course is offered in the current school year, which started on 11 September. It is the newest addition to a host of measures targeting LGBTQIA+ rights since 2015, including the banning of pride events, the arrest of LGBTQIA+ rights activists, lawyers and journalists and the support of anti-LGBTQIA+ rallies, as the country moves in a more religiously and socially conservative direction.

Sources: T24, Balkan Insight, Human Rights Watch, Voice of America

Primary categories and factors
Rights -1 Rights  (-1)
Political Equality
Social Group Equality

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