December 18, 2020
By Ali Kucukgocmen
Istanbul (Reuters) – Turkey’s prominent philanthropist Ottoman Kavala, who had been in prison for more than three years without being convicted, filed a new trial in 2016 accused of being involved in an attempted coup d’etat. Denied charges against him on Friday as the court began. ..
Western allies in Ankara have expressed concern about Cavalla’s detention, and the European Court of Human Rights said it would only help silence him. Rights activists and opposition politicians have doubled his call for release after President Erdogan promised judicial reform last month.
Shortly after being acquitted in February on charges related to protests at Gezi Park nationwide in 2013, Cavalla was newly arrested on charges related to a failed coup in 2016.
“None of the charges in this indictment are based on the facts, evidence, or objective assessment of any specific criminal activity,” Cavalla told the court in a video link from prison.
The claim “is in stark contrast to my worldview, ethical values, and the goals of projects carried out by civil society organizations under my supervision,” he said.
Critics say detention shows political pressure on Turkey’s judiciary and has been bent to punish thousands of government-recognized enemies following the failure of the 2016 coup. I will.
Erdogan’s reform pledge has sparked speculation that Cavalla and others may be released, but the president said last month that he could never defend philanthropists, and a court revealed his accusations. Nevertheless, he called him the sponsor of the 2013 protest.
In the new indictment, Cavalla is accused of working with Henri Barky, a prominent Turkish scholar in the United States. The complaint accuses Barkey of linking to a network of US-based Turkish Islamic priest Fetofullaguren, who accuses Ankara of organizing a coup.
Gulen denies involvement in the coup attempt.
Cavalla and Barkey have been charged with convictions attempting to upset the constitutional order with life imprisonment without parole and espionage that could lead to up to 20 years in prison.
Barkey rejected the accusation as a “perfect fabrication.”
According to the complaint, Cavalla and Barkey spoke on the phone on October 8, 2016, almost three months after the failure of the July 15 coup. Many times between 2013 and 2016, Barky and Cavalla’s telephone signals originated from the same area, and it is stated that they met at a restaurant in Istanbul on July 18, 2016.
In an email reply to Reuters in October, Barkey said the two collided with each other at a restaurant and had a brief discussion. He added that their phone could have been easily at other times in the same district of a crowded city if they didn’t meet.
The ECHR last year decided that Cavalla should be released because the evidence did not support the indictment. This month, the Council of Europe’s Ministerial Committee also called for his release.
In October, a Turkish court lifted Kavala’s arrest warrant related to accusations of constitutional orders, but imprisoned him on suspicion of espionage.
Prior to Friday’s hearing, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other groups called for the release of Kabbalah.
“We will implement the decision of the binding European Court of Human Rights. Amnesty International Turkish activist Milena Buyum said on Twitter.
(Report by Ali Kucukgocmen; edited by Jonathan Spicer and Giles Elgood)
Turkish Kabbalah denies prosecution when coup-related trials begin
Source link Turkish Kabbalah denies prosecution when coup-related trials begin