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Trial in Turkey: Kavala still under arrest

Trial in Turkey: Kavala still under arrest

Status: 11/26/2021 4:25 PM

A Turkish criminal court decided to extend the pretrial detention of cultural patron Kavala. Amid the international protests in the case, the steps of the Council of Europe against Turkey are now approaching.

Turkish cultural promoter and businessman Osman Kavala remains in detention. An Istanbul criminal court extended the detention of the 64-year-old pre-trial defendant and set the next hearing in his trial for January 17. Kavala was not present at the court session. According to his lawyer, Tolga Aitur, he said that since it was not a “fair trial”, he believed it was “futile to attend the upcoming hearings”.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office accuses Kavala of participating in financing the Gezi protests, which were critical of the government, in 2013 and participating in planning the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016. Kavala rejects these allegations.

Years of imprisonment without a conviction

He was held without conviction for more than four years. Kavala was originally arrested for financing the Gezi protests. In February 2020, a court acquitted him of this allegation. Kavala was released from prison, but was arrested again a few hours later – this time in connection with the attempted coup in 2016 and on espionage charges. In January 2021, the Court of Appeal overturned the first acquittal.

Observers criticize the process as being politically motivated. In October, the ambassadors of Turkey’s ten Western allies, including the United States and Germany, called on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to release Kavala. Erdogan then threatened the diplomats with expulsion. According to the current court decision, the Council of Europe, which is supposed to support human rights in its 47 member states, can file cases against Turkey. Turkey could then be suspended from membership or voting rights in the Council of Europe.

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