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Ahead of tomorrow’s expected verdict in the so-called ‘Gezi trial’ where civil society leader Osman Kavala and 15 others are on trial on trumped-up charges of ‘attempting to overthrow the government’, Amnesty International’s Turkey Campaigner, Milena Buyum said:

“The outcome of this case will show the rest of the world whether respect for human rights has any part to play in the Turkish justice system.” 

“Despite failing to produce a shred of evidence to support their claim that Osman Kavala, Mücella Yapıcı and Yiğit Aksakoğlu were involved in any criminal activity let alone conspiring to overthrow the government, the prosecution is seeking to condemn them to life in prison without parole. Six others are facing 15 to 20 years behind bars”

“So far, the trial court has refused to implement last December’s emphatic ruling by European Court of Human Rights that Osman Kavala should be immediately released. Instead, this rush to convict him and eight others further confirms that this is a politically motivated prosecution aiming to silence Osman Kavala and wider civil society.”

“It is time for Turkey to end the relentless crackdown on dissenting voices. Osman Kavala must be immediately released from prison and all defendants acquitted.”

Background

Osman Kavala has been in pre-trial detention in the Silivri High Security Prison in Istanbul since November 1, 2017. He, Yiğit Aksakoğlu who also spent eight months in pre-trial detention last year and 14 others are facing allegations of ‘using coercion and violence, attempting to bring down the government or to wholly or partially prevent it carrying out its duties’.

Earlier this month a prosecutor sought aggravated life in prison for Osman Kavala, Yiğit Aksakoğlu and Mücella Yapıcı for “attempting to overthrow the government” through the Gezi Park protests in 2013. Six others in the same case face prison sentences of between 15 and 20 years for aiding attempted overthrow of the government. Seven defendants who have been outside of Turkey since the start of the prosecution will see their cases separated.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled on December 10, 2019 that Osman Kavala, a civil society leader, has been arbitrarily detained in Turkey since November 2017.

Tomorrow, another landmark verdict is expected in the cases of 11 human rights defenders, including the former chair, former director and several members of Amnesty Turkey, who have spent the last two-and-a-half years fighting trumped-up charges and could face up to fifteen years behind bars if found guilty.

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