The lawyers of Turkish philanthropist and businessman Osman Kavala have said prosecutors who are seeking a life sentence for him disregarded a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling calling for his release.
The Turkish prosecutors said in their final sentencing opinion on March 4 that Kavala, as well as activist Mücella Yapıcı, should be given aggravated life sentences for “attempting to overthrow the Turkish government through force and violence.”
His lawyers said the Turkish prosecutors violated the ECHR’s 2019 ruling, which called for the immediate release of Kavala and said there was a lack of reasonable suspicion that he had committed an offense.
"The decision of the European Court of Human Rights, which evaluated the detention related to the Article 312 of the Turkish Penal Code, stating that it was 'not based on concrete and legitimate evidence,' is clearly disregarded and the decisions and norms regarding the International Criminal Law are persistently deemed null and void," the lawyers said in their March 8 statement.
Following Turkey's repeated refusal to comply with the ECHR's ruling, the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers referred the case to the ECHR Grand Chamber on Feb. 2.
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.