Turkish Court Orders Philanthropist Kavala Remain in Jail
(Bloomberg) -- A court in Istanbul on Friday ordered philanthropist Osman Kavala remain in jail in a case that’s being closely watched by Western allies as a test of Turkey’s judicial independence, Haberturk TV channel reported.
The 64-year-old businessman has been in prison for more than four years and is currently on trial on charges of conspiring to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a failed coup attempt in 2016. Kavala denies taking part in the putsch effort.
Turkey has been heavily criticized by its traditional allies in the West for taking Kavala as a political prisoner. Turkey’s relationship with those partners came to the brink of collapse last month when Erdogan threatened envoys from 10 countries, including the U.S. and Germany, with expulsion after they demanded the philanthropist’s release.
Turkish prosecutors also accused Kavala of financing and organizing the months-long Gezi Park protests against Erdogan in 2013, charges that saw the Turkish businessman put in jail in 2017. He was eventually acquitted but a higher court overturned the decision, paving the way for further judicial proceedings.
The Council of Europe last month urged Turkey to put an end to the prolonged detention of Kavala and abide by the final 2019 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights to release him.
Next step should be “the notification of infringements proceedings” against Turkey at the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on Nov. 30, Emma Sinclair-Webb, an associate director at the Human Rights Watch, said on Twitter.
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