ECHR to announce verdict on case of jailed philanthropist Kavala

European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will announce its decision next week on an appeal made by Turkish philanthropist and activist Osman Kavala, who has been in prison since 2017 on charges of trying to overthrow the government, Gazete Duvar reported.

Kavala was arrested on Oct. 18, 2017, and charged with attempting to overthrow the constitutional order, a common charge against opposition figures arrested since the failed coup attempt in July 2016.

Kavala submitted his appeal application in 2018, arguing that his rights had been violated as the detention had been unlawful and he was taken into custody without a court decision.

Europe’s top human rights court will announce its decision on Dec. 10, Gazete Duvar said.

For years, the ECHR and rights watchdogs have criticised Ankara’s long pre-trial detentions, which have become common since the failed putsch.

Kavala, along with 15 leading civil society figures, are facing charges of attempting to overthrow the government via the nation-wide Gezi Park protests of 2013.

The government says human rights activist Kavala, the only suspect of the case who remains in prison, was the chief conspirator behind the protests, and that he used his non-profit arts and culture organisation, Anadolu Kültür, to sponsor sedition.

Hundreds of thousands of people participated in Gezi demonstrations across almost all of Turkey’s provinces. Prosecutors have called for life sentences for the 16 defendants in the case that began six years after the protests and immediately after the 2016 failed coup attempt.