Philanthropist and businessperson Osman Kavala, who has been convicted of aggravated life in prison over the alleged charge of attempting to overthrow the government by financing the Gezi Protests, on July 11 criticized the written opinion (“tebliğname”) of the chief public prosecutor's office of the Court of Cassation on the Gezi Park case.
In a statement penned from prison, Kavala said the prosecutor’s opinion “contains more grave slanders and demonstrates an even more blatant disregard for legal principles.”
“As per the Prosecutor's Office, even in the absence of evidence that a crime has been committed, the court can convict a person solely based on the determination of their intent to commit a crime,” Kavala said.
He added that “interpreting intent in criminal law” has found place in the Court of Cassation as well, constituting “a dangerous development for our nation.”
In the opinion, the prosecutor has demanded the approval of convictions of all Gezi Park defendants except architect Mücella Yapıcı.
In April 2022, a Turkish court sentenced Mücella Yapıcı, Çiğdem Mater, Hakan Altınay, Mine Özerden, Can Atalay, Tayfun Kahraman and Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi to 18 years in jail for aiding the alleged attempt to overthrow the government during the 2013 Gezi Protests. Human rights defender Osman Kavala, on the other hand, was sentenced to life imprisonment as he faced the charge of “attempting to abolish the government.”
Kavala was arrested in 2017 on charges that he helped to plan the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Turkey. He was cleared of these charges in February 2020 but immediately arrested on charges that he orchestrated the July 2016 coup attempt, seen at the time as a way of getting around the ECHR's 2019 ruling that called for his immediate release.
In April 2022, an Istanbul court sentenced Kavala to aggravated life in prison without parole on charges of attempting to overthrow the government.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan previously said they will not respect ECHR’s decision, triggering proceedings which could result in Turkey's suspension from the Council of Europe, of which it is a founding member.