Osman Kavala sentenced to aggravated life in prison

Philantrophist Osman Kavala was on April 25 sentenced to aggravated life in prison for allegedly attempting to overthrow the Turkish government by financing the 2013 Gezi protests.

Reuters - Duvar English

A Turkish court sentenced philanthropist and businessperson Osman Kavala to life in prison on April 25 finding him guilty of attempting to overthrow the government by financing the 2013 nationwide protests, in a case that Europe's top court and Ankara's Western allies said was politically motivated.

Kavala, 64, has been in jail for over four years without a conviction and denies the charges he and 15 others face over the Gezi protests, which began as small demonstrations in an Istanbul park and snowballed into nationwide anti-government unrest, in which eight protesters were killed.

The court also 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. The court said it decided to acquit Kavala of espionage charge due to a lack of evidence.

Kavala was arrested in 2017 on charges he helped to plan the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Turkey. He was cleared of these charges in February 2020, but was immediately arrested on charges that he orchestrated the July 2016 coup attempt. Kavala had been held in pre-trial detention for over four years without a conviction. In 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said Kavala's ongoing imprisonment was political and called on Turkey to free him.

Lastly, the Committee of Ministers, the executive organ of the Council of Europe (CoE), on Feb. 2 voted on the transfer of the Osman Kavala case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). With this ruling, the infringement procedure against Turkey has officially started.