Kavala saga continues: Turkish court keeps philanthropist in prison

January 18, 2022

A Turkish court ruled Monday that prominent Turkish civil rights activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala should stay in prison, despite his more than four years in pre-trial detention.
The hearing took place as a Council of Europe deadline that could trigger infringement procedures looms. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2019 that Kavala’s rights had been violated and ordered his release. But Turkey has repeatedly refused to do so.
Kavala, who is in Silivri prison on the outskirts of Istanbul, did not participate in the hearing in line with an October statement that he would no longer attend trials via video conference because he didn’t have faith the court would deliver a fair trial.

Kavala, 64, is accused of financing nationwide anti-government protests in 2013, attempting to overthrow the government by helping orchestrate a coup attempt three years later and espionage. He denies the charges, which carry a life sentence without parole.
He was acquitted in February 2020 of charges in connection with the 2013 Gezi Park protests. As supporters awaited his release, Kavala was rearrested on new charges. The acquittal was later overturned and linked to charges relating to the 2016 coup attempt, which the Turkish government blames on the network of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who denies any ties to the coup.
That trial is now part of a merged case involving 51 other defendants, including fans of the Besiktas soccer club who were acquitted six years ago of charges related to the Gezi protests before that decision also was overturned. Kavala is the only jailed defendant.

His continued imprisonment for 1,539 days is the continuation of lawlessness identified by the European Court of Human Rights,” Bayraktar his lawyer said. “End this lawlessness today so our client gets his freedom.
In October, Kavala’s case also caused a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and 10 Western countries, including the United States, France and Germany, after they called for his release on the fourth anniversary of his imprisonment.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan openly disdains Kavala, accusing him of being the “Turkish leg” of billionaire US philanthropist George Soros, whom Erdogan alleges has been behind insurrections in many countries. He threatened to expel Western envoys for meddling in Turkey’s internal affairs.
The European Court of Human Rights’ 2019 decision said Kavala’s imprisonment aimed to silence him and other human rights defenders and wasn’t supported by evidence of an offense.
The Council of Europe, a 47-member bloc that upholds human rights, notified Turkey in December that it intended to refer the case to the court to determine whether Turkey refused to abide by final judgments, which are binding. It called on Turkey to release Kavala immediately and conclude the criminal procedures without delay. It asked Turkey to submit its views by Jan. 19 before a Feb. 2 session of the council.
Kavala is the founder of a non-profit organization, Anadolu Kultur, which focuses on cultural and artistic projects promoting peace and dialogue. https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/09/16/osman-kavala-and-mozn-hassan-receive-2020-international-hrant-dink-award/

The next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 21.

next: https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/03/turkey-osman-kavala-and-co-defendants-must-be-acquitted-of-all-charges/

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2006211/middle-east

https://www.whio.com/news/world/turkish-court-rules/GT56VN3YVPXZYAHFJ6FCKYKRE4/

3 Responses to “Kavala saga continues: Turkish court keeps philanthropist in prison”


  1. […] The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers voted on 2 February, 2022 to begin infringement proceedings against Turkey. Human Rights Watch called it an important step to support human rights protection in Turkey and uphold the international human rights framework. The resolution concerns Turkey’s failure over the past two years to comply with the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment in which the Court ruled that Turkey should free human rights defender Osman Kavala and fully restore his rights. See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/01/18/kavala-saga-continues-turkish-court-keeps-philanthropis…/ […]


  2. […] A Turkish court on Monday sentenced prominent Turkish civil rights activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala to life in prison without parole, finding him guilty of attempting to overthrow the government with mass protests in 2013. Western governments and rights groups strongly criticized the ruling, with one calling it “a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions.” See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/01/18/kavala-saga-continues-turkish-court-keeps-philanthropis… […]


  3. […] A Turkish court on Monday sentenced prominent Turkish civil rights activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala to life in prison without parole, finding him guilty of attempting to overthrow the government with mass protests in 2013. Western governments and rights groups strongly criticized the ruling, with one calling it “a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions.” See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2022/01/18/kavala-saga-continues-turkish-court-keeps-philanthropis… […]


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