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Turkish judges board says review of Kavala’s arrest records ‘general and routine’ practice

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The Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK), Turkey’s top judicial body, has said in a statement that its recent request to review records related to the arrest and remand of prominent businessman and rights activist Osman Kavala was a “general and routine” practice while they deliberate the promotions of judicial personnel.

The HSK, which is responsible for the appointment, promotion, transfer, discipline and dismissal of judges and prosecutors, earlier this week wrote to the İstanbul Justice Commission and requested all rulings for Kavala’s incarceration, the indictment against him and court records.

According to the Turkish media, the judicial body said in a document marked “urgent” that the information was sought in relation to a review of judges and prosecutors’ promotions, based on whether they upheld the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and Turkey’s Constitutional Court (AYM).

The move was regarded by many on social media as a positive development in Kavala’s case and created expectations that he might be released in the near future.

The top judicial body, however, explained in a written statement published on its official website that it was seeking court documents regarding all cases on which the ECtHR had issued rulings in order to decide on promotions and not just on one case, describing the move as a “general and routine” practice.

“It has become necessary to issue this statement in order to eliminate the public confusion and misjudgment regarding the official request made to the İstanbul Justice Commission due to a lack of information on the issue,” the HSK said on Friday.

Local Turkish courts have continued to keep Kavala behind bars despite an ECtHR ruling holding that the philanthropist was arrested in the absence of any reasonable suspicion and that Turkey’s AYM did not examine his application within a reasonable period of time.

After his acquittal in mid-February of charges of attempting to overthrow the state through involvement in the 2013 nationwide Gezi Park protests, Kavala was rearrested on the same day on charges related to an attempted coup that took place in 2016 in a move described by his lawyers as a tactic to circumvent the ECtHR ruling.

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