Renowned philanthropist, businessman and human rights activist Osman Kavala has criticized espionage accusations against him, saying that it’s “more ridiculous” than the previous allegations.
Kavala’s remarks came a day after an Istanbul court ordered his arrest on new charges of “political or military espionage.”
“It’s utterly saddening and worrying that the intention to make my imprisonment continue at all costs led to members of the judiciary violating the laws,” Kavala said in a message he sent from Silivri Prison via his lawyers on March 10.
Kavala and 15 others were being tried in the case into the 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.
Kavala, who is accused of being one of the “managers and organizers” of the protests, was arrested in November 2017 on suspicion of attempting to overthrow the government and the constitutional order through force and violence.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on Dec. 10, 2019 that Turkey violated Kavala’s rights, citing the violation of Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights, finding that his imprisonment involves a restriction on rights for an improper purpose, while also calling for his immediate release.
Kavala and eight other defendants were on Feb. 18 acquitted by a court outside Istanbul in the Gezi Park trial. Within hours, a new warrant was issued for Kavala as part of the investigation into the failed 2016 coup attempt. The prosecutors accuse him of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” in this case.
He was rearrested on Feb. 19.
In his message, Kavala said that the new accusations aim to invalidate the ECHR’s rights violation ruling.
“It’s clear that this baseless allegation, which is more ridiculous than the previous ones, aims to invalidate the ECHR’s violation ruling and the limitation on imprisonment before the preparation of an indictment to two years that was introduced by the judicial reform package,” Kavala said.
“If it’s accepted as normal, this attitude will set a dangerous example for criminal cases,” he added.