Turkish court ignores call for release of businessman
Silivri, Turkey - A Turkish court on Tuesday ignored calls to release a businessman charged with seeking to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, despite a ruling by Europe’s top rights body.
Osman Kavala, a leading figure in Turkey’s civil society who has funded projects across the country, has been in pre-trial detention since November 2017.
Turkish prosecutors accuse him and 15 other leading figures in civil society of involvement in anti-Erdogan protests in 2013 and the failed coup in 2016.
Kavala dismissed the charges as ‘completely groundless’, according to a correspondent in court.
“The 657-page indictment... proves I am innocent rather than guilty,” he told the court.
“I demand this unlawful and discriminatory practice that placed me in prison for two years come to an end,” he added.
The Turkish court in Silivri in the outskirts of Istanbul set the next hearing for January 28.
The crowd applauded Kavala as he was led from the courtroom, saluting his supporters.
Two weeks ago, the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) urged Turkey to ‘take every measure to put an end’ to Kavala’s detention and ‘to secure his immediate release’.