An Istanbul court on Feb. 10 ruled to keep renowned philanthropist Osman Kavala behind bars by majority vote in a monthly detention review. The ruling came despite the Council of Europe (CoE)'s move to launch infringement procedure against Turkey.
The next hearing of the case will take place on Feb. 21.
In its justification, the Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court said that the judicial control measures will "stay insufficient considering that there has been no change in the legal situation since the last-dated evaluation and taking into account the nature of the crime charged to the accused Mehmet Osman Kavala as well as the stage of the trial."
One judge had a dissenting opinion saying that Kavala's defense had been already taken and the evidence had been already collected.
Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkey will not respect the Council of Europe if it does not respect Turkish courts.
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.
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. Kavala has been held in pre-trial detention for over four years without a conviction.
In 2019, the ECHR said Kavala's ongoing imprisonment was political and called on Turkey to free him.