Turkey issues another arrest warrant for jailed businessman Kavala: report

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Drawing: Murat Başol

A Turkish court issued a new arrest warrant on Monday for Turkish businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala, who was re-arrested last month after his acquittal in a separate trial, Reuters reported, citing one of his lawyers.

Kavala had been cleared of charges related to nationwide protests in 2013 but was re-arrested the following day, accused of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order in a failed coup in 2016.

On Monday, a second arrest warrant was issued in relation to the coup attempt, this time for espionage.

Court documents seen by Reuters said Kavala had been in contact with a man alleged to have spied for foreign governments.

Kavala denies all the charges. After his re-arrest last month, he said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had intervened to prevent his release from prison.

The cases against Kavala have been criticized by Turkey’s Western allies and rights activists who say the charges are political.

In December, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) said there was insufficient evidence to support the accusation that Kavala had been involved in the failed coup. That ruling will become final on Tuesday.

Deniz Tolga Aytöre, a lawyer for Kavala, was quoted in the court records as saying that the new warrant was aimed at circumventing the implementation of the ECtHR ruling.

The independence of Turkey’s judiciary has been hotly debated in recent years. Critics say court rulings are influenced by politicians, but Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) say the judiciary makes its decisions independently.

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