Nov. 1 marked the third anniversary of the Turkish government’s arrest of Osman Kavala, a prominent Turkish philanthropist and civil society leader.
An initiative named “Artists United for Osman Kavala,” launched by filmmaker Fatih Akın and theatre-maker Shermin Langhoff, released a statement regarding Kavala's arrest saying: "We will not stop to ask for justice and human rights, until #OsmanKavala is free!"
#OsmanKavala is behind bars at the Silivri high-security prison, for 1097 days now!— What Did Kavala Do? (@whatdidkavalado) November 1, 2020
We will not stop to ask for justice and human rights, until #OsmanKavala is free! #ArtistsUnitedforOsmanKavala#WhatDidKavalaDo pic.twitter.com/VL92DoiUOk
Kavala was detained on Oct. 18, 2017 and was formally arrested on Nov. 1, 2017 by a court order based on accusations of organizing anti-government protests in Istanbul's Gezi Park four years earlier.New indictment against Osman Kavala 'politically motivated, bereft of legal credibility'
Kavala was cleared of charges related to nationwide protests in 2013, but was re-arrested the following day on Feb. 19, accused of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order in a failed coup in 2016.
Like the Gezi Park indictment, which was blasted for its ludicrous format and lack of any real evidence, lawyers for Kavala say that the latest indictment against him also is absent of actual evidence.
In the new indictment approved by the court in October, Kavala is accused of collaborating with Henri Barkey, a prominent Turkey scholar in the United States.
The indictment accuses Barkey of links to the network of U.S.-based Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, which Ankara accuses of orchestrating the coup.Noam Chomsky calls for immediate release of Osman Kavala
Turkey's Western allies and rights groups have called for Kavala's release and voiced concern that his indictment points to a politicization of Turkey's justice system.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) released a joint statement on Oct. 26 saying that the indictment against Kavala is politically motivated and bereft of legal credibility.
Nacho Sanchez Amor, the European Parliament's rapporteur on Turkey, said the indictment "without any real evidence is outrageous." He said it "disdains" a European Court of Human Rights ruling that called for Kavala's immediate release.
Amnesty International called the indictment "absurd."
Rights groups says that Kavala’s legal saga has not only silenced an important voice in Turkey, but also shows the deterioration of the rule of law in Turkey. They point out that Kavala's case epitomizes the situation of several other jailed political prisoners who are kept behind bars for exercising their rights to peaceful opposition.
Kavala’s new trial is set to begin on Dec. 18.