Istanbul (dpa) - The intellectual Osman Kavala, who has been detained in Turkey for more than two years, must remain in custody. There is an urgent suspicion and risk of escape, the judges at the maximum security prison Silivrizur explained.
They again opposed a request from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which ordered Kavala's release in December.
The Strasbourg judgment is not yet final, the judges argued. They had already refused to release the accused shortly after the ECHR claim in December. Turkey director of the human rights organization Human Rights Watch, Emma Sinclair-Webb, described the decision as “shocking”. Turkey is obliged to abide by the Strasbourg judgment. The next day of the trial is February 18.
Kavala, who works together with the Goethe-Institut with his Anadolu Kültür Foundation, has been in custody since November 2017. He and 15 other activists and human rights activists are accused of attempting to overthrow the government-critical Gezi protests in 2013. Kavala is also accused of having financed the protests with foreign aid.
During the internationally attentive hearing on Tuesday there was an uproar in the meantime: All lawyers left the room in protest and with applause from the audience because their request to exchange the judge team was not granted. They accused the court of being biased and inter alia having heard a witness without the defense counsel.
The judges ended up throwing the audience out of the hall - and the MPs of the largest opposition party, CHP, Sezgin Tanrikulu, who asked for a defender to be assigned to Kavala. Without the presence of his lawyers, Kavala criticized that deprivation of liberty was a “serious violation”. The Turkish court must abide by the ECtHR judgment.
The Gezi protests sparked in the summer of 2013 on the development of the Gezi Park in central Istanbul. They expanded into nationwide demonstrations against the authoritarian policies of the then Prime Minister and today's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The government brutally crushed the protests.