Turkish court keeps Kavala in prison, verdict expected next month

By Ali Kucukgocmen

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A Turkish courtroom dominated on Monday that philanthropist Osman Kavala ought to keep in jail for at the least one other month as defendants put together their ultimate statements in a trial which has brought about tensions between Ankara and its Western allies.

Opposition and rights activists have mentioned the trial is politically motivated and a part of a crackdown on dissent underneath President Tayyip Erdogan. The federal government rejects this and says Turkey’s courts are unbiased.

The courtroom had been extensively anticipated to achieve a verdict on Monday, however defence attorneys requested extra time to answer the prosecutor’s ultimate opinion on the case and the decide set a date of April 22 for what was more likely to be the ultimate listening to.

Kavala, a businessman and contributor to quite a few civil society teams, was initially detained greater than 4 years in the past on Oct. 18, 2017.

He’s on trial with 15 others on expenses associated to nationwide Gezi protests in 2013. Some defendants have been acquitted twice up to now of the fees associated to the protests.

Kavala and a seventeenth defendant are accused of involvement in a coup try in 2016. All defendants deny the fees.

Prosecutor Edip Sahiner has requested that Kavala and Mucella Yapici be convicted for trying to overthrow the federal government within the protests, which carries a jail sentence as much as life with out parole.

He additionally requested that six others be convicted of aiding Kavala and Yapici. A few of the different defendants are overseas and haven’t been attending the hearings.

The Council of Europe final month referred Kavala’s case to the European Courtroom of Human Rights (ECHR) to find out whether or not Turkey has failed to fulfill its obligation to implement a earlier ECHR judgment, greater than two years in the past, that he needs to be launched instantly.


Kavala was acquitted in 2020 of expenses associated to nationwide protests in 2013, however hours later one other courtroom ordered his arrest based mostly on a cost of trying to overthrow the constitutional order associated to a 2016 coup try.

That courtroom later dominated to launch him on that cost however ordered his detention on an espionage cost in the identical case, a transfer critics mentioned was geared toward circumventing the ECHR ruling.

Kavala joined the listening to by way of video hyperlink on Monday after refusing to attend a number of hearings.

“The absence of the point out of the espionage cost within the prosecutor’s ultimate opinion has made it apparent that my detention on the cost of espionage is totally baseless,” he informed the courtroom, requesting his launch.

Greater than 100 individuals gathered exterior the courthouse in help of the defendants, carrying a banner studying “Gezi is hope. Hope can’t be placed on trial”.

The courtroom was full of Western diplomats, representatives of rights teams, opposition celebration members and defendants’ households and supporters.

Erdogan has mentioned Turkey won’t respect the Council of Europe if it didn’t respect Turkish courts.

Final October, Erdogan threatened to expel the ambassadors of 10 international locations, together with the US, Germany and France, after they echoed the ECHR ruling.

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen, Writing by Daren Butler, Enhancing by Ece Toksabay, Andrew Heavens and Ed Osmond)

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