Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala jailed for all times over 2013 protests

A Turkish courtroom has sentenced distinguished civil rights activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala to life in jail with out parole, discovering him responsible of trying to overthrow the federal government in reference to the 2013 mass anti-government protests.

Kavala (64) had been in jail for 4½ years with no conviction and denied the costs he confronted over the Gezi protests, which started as small demonstrations in an Istanbul park in 2013 and snowballed into nationwide anti-government unrest.

The US mentioned it was “deeply troubled and disappointed” by the conviction.

It is “unjust” and “inconsistent with respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law,” the US State Department mentioned in an announcement.

The courtroom additionally sentenced seven others to 18 years in jail every for aiding an try to overthrow the federal government and ordered their arrests. The courtroom mentioned it determined to acquit Kavala of espionage costs on account of lack of proof.

The courtroom was full of greater than 200 individuals, together with opposition members, western diplomats and rights activists.

The defendants’ supporters yelled on the judges because the ruling was learn out. Many of them cried because the seven defendants, together with 71-year-old architect Mucella Yapici, have been taken into custody.

“This is just the beginning; the struggle goes on,” the gang chanted.

In his final phrases earlier than the decision, Kavala mentioned the prosecutor’s request for a life sentence was primarily based on “evidence that is not evidence” and amounted to “an act of assassination by use of the judiciary”.

Kavala performed a serious position creating Turkish civil society earlier than he was detained in 2017, from a publishing home that aimed to foster social change after Turkey’s 1980 coup to boosting tradition through his Anadolu Kultur organisation.

The US known as on Turkey to launch Kavala.

“We remain gravely concerned by the continued judicial harassment of civil society, media, political and business leaders in Turkey,” the state division mentioned in its assertion.

Demonstrators gather in front of Istanbul’s courthouse after philanthropist and activist Osman Kavala, was jailed for life. Photograph: Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images
Demonstrators collect in entrance of Istanbul’s courthouse after philanthropist and activist Osman Kavala, was jailed for all times. Photograph: Ozan Kose/AFP through Getty Images

Responding to the conviction of Kavala and 7 different defendants for aiding him, Nils Muiznieks, Amnesty International’s Europe director, mentioned: “Today, we have witnessed a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions. This verdict deals a devastating blow not only to Osman Kavala, his co-defendants and their families, but to everyone who believes in justice and human rights activism in Turkey and beyond.”

“The court’s decision defies all logic . . . This unjust verdict shows that the Gezi trial was only an attempt to silence independent voices.”

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and activists have mentioned the case is politically motivated and a part of a crackdown on dissent beneath president Recep Tayyip Erdogan – accusations the federal government dismisses.

The ECHR known as for Kavala’s launch in late 2019 and dominated his detention was meant to silence the philanthropist, whose civil society tasks aimed to foster social change.

Ankara now faces being suspended from the Council of Europe rights watchdog, after infringement proceedings have been launched on account of his continued detention.

Emma Sinclair-Webb, Turkey consultant for Human Rights Watch, mentioned the decision was an “active defiance against the Council of Europe”.

Embassies of Turkey’s western allies, together with the US and Germany, echoed the decision for Kavala’s launch final 12 months, prompting threats by Erdogan to expel their ambassadors.

Erdogan has likened the Gezi protesters to Kurdish militants and people accused of orchestrating a failed 2016 coup. He has accused Kavala of attempting to overthrow the federal government, saying western allies wouldn’t launch “bandits, murderers and terrorists” of their international locations.

Kavala was acquitted in 2020 of costs associated to the Gezi protests. Hours later one other courtroom ordered his arrest on a cost of trying to overthrow the constitutional order associated to the 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 aimed toward circumventing the ECHR ruling.

Kavala’s acquittal together with eight others within the Gezi trial was overturned final 12 months and the case was mixed with the opposite costs towards him.

Sera Kadigil, a member of parliament from the Workers’ Party of Turkey, mentioned the decision was the AK Party’s revenge on Gezi protests and that the courtroom carried out the federal government’s directions.

“There is no justice in this country. We cannot speak of impartial court. This ruling made this official,” she instructed Reuters. – Reuters/AP

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