Home LATEST NEWS Turkish patron Osman Kavala, Erdogan’s pet peeve, sentenced to life imprisonment

Turkish patron Osman Kavala, Erdogan’s pet peeve, sentenced to life imprisonment


Osman Kavala, accused of having tried to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will not be able to benefit from any remission of sentence, specified the judges, whose verdict, stated after less than an hour of deliberation, was accepted by boos in the courtroom and the crying of his loved ones.

He was only acquitted of the espionage charge. His lawyers have indicated their intention to appeal.

Human Rights Watch representative Emma Sinclair-Webb, present in court, denounced on Twitter the worst possible outcome. Horrible, cruel and diabolical.

Amnesty International’s Europe director, Nils Muiznieks, in a statement blasted a parody of justice who defy common sense.

In advance, at the close of the proceedings, Osman Kavala – who has always denied the charges against him – had denounced a judicial assassination against his person.

Conspiracy theories, advanced for political and ideological reasons, have prevented an unbiased analysis of events and [les ont] disconnected from realityhe had launched before the judges withdrew.

Three people embrace in front of the building housing a court.

People who have come to show their support for Osman Kavala are trying to console themselves before the Istanbul court where the patron’s sentence was pronounced.

Photo: Getty Images/AFP/OZAN KOSE

Figure of Turkish civil society, Osman Kavala, 64, was accused of having sought to overthrow the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan by financing so-called anti-government demonstrations Gezi movement in 2013 and during the failed coup of July 2016.

Inquisitive judges

It was from the high security prison of Silivri, on the outskirts of Istanbul, by videoconference and dressed as usual in an impeccable white shirt, that he followed the pleadings on Monday and heard the statement of the verdict, epilogue of a judicial soap opera returned from month to month.

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The three lawyers of the businessman, publisher and philanthropist, argued in particular that the judges never asked him where he was during the acts with which he was charged.

: you did not ask a single question of Osman Kavala”,”text”:”There was no trial: you did not ask a single question of Osman Kavala”}}”>There was no trial: you did not ask a single question to Osman Kavalalaunched Me Tolga Aytöre.: \”did you go to Gezi Park?\””,”text”:”Not even: \”did you go to Gezi Park?\””}}’>Not even: “did you go to Gezi Park?”the epicenter of the 2013 protests that had spread across the country.

Likewise, the last defender to speak, Ilkan Koyuncu, recalled that2016, but no one asked him where he was the night of the coup”,”text”:”Kavala is accused of having played a role in the attempted coup in 2016, but no one asked him where he was the night of the coup kick”}}”>Kavala is accused of playing a role in the attempted coup in 2016, but no one asked him where he was the night of the coup.

During the pleadings, the representative of the Pen Club, an association for the defense of freedom of expression, Caroline Stockford, asked the judges to drop their phone to listen to the defense, implying that they were receiving their orders on screen.

Facing the court on Friday, Osman Kavala denounced President Erdogan’s influence on his trial.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Photo: Getty Images / ADEM ALTAN

His seven co-accused – who appeared free – were sentenced to 18 years in prison, accused of having supported him.

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Human rights activists had hoped for a release that would send a positive signal as Turkey tries to facilitate talks between Ukraine and Russia. Especially since President Erdogan was simultaneously receiving the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, in Ankara.

As at every audience, a dozen Western diplomats were present to show their support for the man who has become the bane of the Erdogan regime.

In prison since 2017

nicknamed the red billionaire by his detractors, Osman Kavala, born in Paris, was arrested in October 2017.

Acquitted in February 2020 on charges related to the 2013 protests, the publisher was arrested a few hours later – even before being able to return home – then sent back to prison, this time accused of having sought to overthrow the government during the failed putsch of July 2016, as well as espionage.

His acquittal was then invalidated by the Turkish courts, but the regular renewal of his detention made him the hero of the opposition to President Erdogan.

Having spent four and a half years of my life in prison can never be compensated. The only thing that can console me will be to have contributed to revealing the serious errors of Turkish justice. »

A quote from Osman Kavala, in a statement made last Friday

The Kavala affair triggered a diplomatic crisis in the fall, Ankara threatening to expel a dozen Western ambassadors, including that of Canada and the United States, who had called for his release.

In February, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) launched a infringement procedure against Turkey.

Last month, prosecutors sought his conviction for overthrow attempt of the government, a life sentence without the possibility of early release.

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