Turkish businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala sentenced to life over Gezi Park protests

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Kavala was sentenced in reference to the 2013 anti-government protests in Turkey, which started over a plan to show a small park in central Istanbul right into a shopping center in the summertime.

The demonstrations rapidly morphed into bigger anti-government rallies throughout Turkey. The court docket additionally sentenced seven different defendants to 18-year jail sentences for aiding an try to overthrow the federal government. Amongst them was 71-year-old architect Mucella Yapici, Istanbul Municipality city planner Tayfun Kahraman and documentary filmmaker Cigdem Mater.

Istanbul’s thirteenth Heavy Penal Court docket ordered that the activists, who weren’t arrested pretrial, to be instantly arrested, Anadolu reported.

Kavala, his legal professionals, different defendants and their legal professionals have repeatedly denied the accusations, saying prosecutors lack proof to assist the claims. They’re additionally anticipated to enchantment the decision.

Kavala, 64, is amongst Turkey’s most high-profile detainees.

He was first arrested in 2017 on expenses associated to the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Istanbul. The trial was intently watched by rights teams, who’ve accused the Turkish authorities of utilizing the judicial system to crack down on dissenting voices.

Although Kavala was acquitted in 2020, that verdict was overturned and new expenses have been introduced in opposition to him for his alleged involvement within the July 2016 tried coup, which resulted within the dying of no less than 250 folks and a subsequent crackdown that has seen over 110,000 folks, together with civil servants, lecturers, activists and journalists detained.

Turkish activist Osman Kavala re-arrested hours after his Gezi Park acquittal

Amnesty Worldwide referred to as Monday’s ruling a “devastating blow” for human rights, saying that the court docket’s resolution “defies all logic.”

“Right this moment, we have now witnessed a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions. This verdict offers a devastating blow not solely to Osman Kavala, his co-defendants and their households, however to everybody who believes in justice and human rights activism in Turkey and past,” Amnesty stated in a statement.

Kavala’s arrest has strained Turkish authorities relations with West when 10 ambassadors, together with the US, France and Germany, launched an announcement asking his freedom and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared them “persona non grata.”

In February, Europe’s high human rights physique, the Council of Europe, launched infringement procedures in opposition to Turkey for refusing to abide by a ruling by the European Court docket of Human Rights, which referred to as for Kavala’s launch on grounds that his rights had been violated.

In an announcement on Monday, two main European Parliament ministers following the choice stated, “This regrettable resolution by the Istanbul thirteenth Heavy Penal Court docket is in clear contempt to the rulings of the European Court docket on Human Rights and can absolutely result in penalties within the infringement proceedings ongoing on the Council of Europe.”

European Parliament Standing Rapporteur for Turkey Nacho Sánchez Amor and Sergey Lagodinsky, chair of the EU-Turkey Parliamentary Delegation, expressed solidarity with Kavala, the opposite defendants and their households of their assertion.

“(This can be a) very unhappy day not just for them but additionally for many who day by day defend basic rights and the rule of regulation in Turkey and for all those that want to see the nation coming nearer to the EU. That is clearly not the best way to do it,” they stated.

“There may be little to none EU perspective for the present Turkey, which is sliding away from worldwide consensus on a rule-based order whereas disrespecting its personal worldwide commitments,” they added.

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