Duvar English

A court has ruled for the continuation of arrest of Osman Kavala, a renowned philanthropist, businessman and human rights activist, despite a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) call for his release.

During the hearing on Dec. 24, Kavala, who has been in jail for over two years, demanded an end to this “unlawful and discriminatory practice.”

“The value of my freedom is based on international norms. That is also what the ECHR ruling indicates,” Kavala told the court.

The prominent human rights activist is accused of being one of the “managers and organizers” of 2013 Gezi Park protests, which took place in Istanbul’s Taksim following harsh government response to a group of protesters trying to prevent the cutting down of trees for a large development project planned by the government.

He was arrested in 2017 on suspicion of attempting to overthrow the government and the constitutional order through force and violence. In addition to the charges related to the Gezi Park protests, Kavala also faces those related to the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt.

The ECHR has recently ruled that Turkey violated Kavala’s rights, while also calling for his immediate release.

Kavala, who faces life in jail if convicted, denies the allegations. Fifteen other defendants are on trial along with Kavala, who is currently the only one in jail.

The Turkish court said it decided to keep Kavala in jail due to the severity of the alleged crimes and was awaiting a response from the justice ministry on whether the ECHR ruling was final.

Their trial was adjourned until Jan. 28, 2020.