Turkish court sends Gezi prisoners’ files to Justice Ministry for review

An Istanbul court has sent files of Gezi prisoner Osman Kavala to the Justice Ministry, requesting “annulment in favor of the law.” The move was interpreted optimistically, and a decision would concern all the prisoners convicted in the Gezi trial. 

The defendants in the Gezi trials, including Hakan Altınay, Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi and Mücella Yapıcı who were released in Sept. 2023.

Duvar English

The Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court on June 7 sent files of the Gezi prisoner Osman Kavala to the Justice Ministry Chief Public Prosecutor's Office under the heading "request for annulment in favor of the law."

According to reporting by the online news outlet T24, the court sent a total of 219 blue and 4 red files to the Prosecutor’s Office, accompanied by a letter. Red files are used for criminal cases in the Turkish judicial system. 

Attached was an “annulment in favor of the law” request submitted by Osman Kavala's lawyer, stated the letter. 

The letter to the ministry includes Kavala's lawyer's request for an "annulment in favor of the law”

The annulment in favor of the law procedure involves the Ministry of Justice applying to the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office of the Court of Cassation to overturn decisions and judgments found to be legally flawed.

The decision would also concern remaining Gezi prisoners Can Atalay, Tayfun Kahraman, Çiğdem Mater, and Mine Özerden as they were convicted under the same case.

Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç has previously stated that Kavala’s life imprisonment verdict was fitting and that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) acted with “political concerns” in its judgments demanding his immediate release.

Furthermore, President Erdoğan appointed Judge Muhsin Şentürk as the Court of Cassation’s chief public prosecutor, who would have the final say in the Gezi prisoners’ review request. 

Şentürk infamously refused to comply with the Constitutional Court (AYM) ruling to release Can Atalay, causing an impasse among the country’s two high courts. 

Developments in the Gezi Trial were among the priority topics in the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) chair Özgür Özel's meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

This development came four days before Erdoğan's scheduled visit to the CHP headquarters and could signal a positive outcome for the philanthropist who has been imprisoned since 2017 for allegedly orchestrating and financing the nationwide anti-governmental protests.