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Osman Kavala: Turkish philanthropist kept in prison despite calls for release

This undated handout photograph released on October 15, 2021, by the Anadolu Culture Center shows Parisian-born Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala.
This undated handout photograph released on October 15, 2021, by the Anadolu Culture Center shows Parisian-born Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala. Copyright Handout / Anadolu Culture Center via AFP
Copyright Handout / Anadolu Culture Center via AFP
By Euronews with AFP
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The businessman has been held without trial in Turkey for over four years.

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Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala will remain in prison despite calls for his release, an Istanbul court has ruled.

Kavala has been detained for more than four years without trial, prompting the Council of Europe to threaten action against Ankara.

But despite possible sanctions, a Turkish court ruled on Monday that the businessman should be kept in prison.

Kavala is accused by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's regime of trying to destabilise the Turkish regime.

The 64-year-old faces life imprisonment on charges linked to financing 2013 anti-government protests and playing a role in an attempted coup in 2016. Kavala strongly rejects the accusations.

Since 2019, the European Court of Human Rights has called for his release and in early February, the Council of Europe launched unprecedented proceedings against Turkey.

Judges ruled that Kavala had been illegally detained to silence the activist and "deter other human rights defenders".

It is only the second time the Council of Europe has taken disciplinary action against one of its 47 member countries.

Turkey — a founding member of more than 70 years — could eventually see its voting rights suspended or face expulsion from the pan-European body.

Ankara has dismissed the Council of Europe action as an "attack on the independence of the judicial process".

Kavala's case generated significant international attention when a dozen ambassadors demanded his release in the autumn, triggering a diplomatic crisis. President Erdogan threatened them with expulsion in retaliation before backing down.

The next hearing in Turkey on Kavala's detention is due to take place on March 21.

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