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UK expresses concern over businessman Kavala’s rearrest

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The UK has expressed concern over a Turkish businessman’s continued detention, urging Ankara to ensure his right to a fair trial.

A Turkish court on Feb. 18 rearrested businessman and rights activist Osman Kavala after another court acquitted him of charges related to the 2013 Gezi Park protests.

Kavala, who spent 840 days in pretrial detention during the Gezi Park trial, is now in pretrial detention over his alleged role in a 2016 coup attempt.

“We support the statement of 19 February by the Council of Europe Commissioner on Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic. In it, she noted that the allegedly new charges ‘have no credibility’ and that the arrest amounts to ill-treatment,” Neil Bush, the UK ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said on Thursday.

“We urge the Turkish authorities to ensure every person’s right to a fair trial, and to uphold the principle of the presumption of innocence and judicial independence, as agreed in the Copenhagen Document of 1990. As well as the commitment, made in Vienna in 1989, to ensure ‘that no one will be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile’.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called Kavala an agent of US-Hungarian financier George Soros, whose efforts to promote democracy around the world have made him a target for several authoritarian leaders.

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