Turkish court accepts indictment seeking aggravated life for Kavala, Gezi activists

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A scene from Turkey's famous Gezi Park protests, held in June 2013.

The İstanbul 30th High Criminal Court has accepted an indictment that demands an aggravated life sentence for human rights activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala as well as 15 other suspects for their alleged roles in the 2013 Gezi protests, the Diken news website reported on Monday.

The indictment was presented to the court in late February by a prosecutor who charged the suspects with “attempting to overthrow the Turkish government.”

Journalist Can Dündar and actor Mehmet Ali Alabora were also named in the indictment.

Accused of organizing and financing the anti-government Gezi Park demonstrations of 2013, which were violently suppressed by the police, Kavala was detained in October 2017 and has spent more than a year in pre-trial detention without an indictment.

In January Council of Europe (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović submitted an opinion in a case brought by Kavala against the government of Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

Mijatović described Kavala’s incarceration as part of increasing pressure in Turkey on the legitimate activities of human rights activists and civil society organizations.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refers to the protests as an attempt to topple his government, an accusation echoed by the prosecutor of the case.

Erdoğan also verbally targeted Kavala. “One financier of the Gezi Park terrorists is now in jail. Behind him was the infamous Hungarian Jew [George] Soros,” he said back in November.

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