Turkish civil society leader says court ruling upheld

Turkish civil society leader says court ruling upheld

On Friday, Turkish civil society leader Osman Kavala said a court decision by the top appeals court upheld his life sentence disregarded law and human life.

A court in April sentenced the 65-year-old to life in prison for attempting to overthrow then-prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government during large-scale protests in 2013 in Turkey.

The decision to jail the Paris-based philanthropist, who has been jailed since 2017, sparked protests from governments worldwide, including the United States, Germany and France, and international rights advocates.

Turkey's top appeals court on Thursday upheld the life sentence for Kavala, while overturning prison sentences for three other civil society leaders in the same case.

Enis Berberoglu, an opposition lawmaker who has served time in prison, visited Kavala on Friday in Silivri on the outskirts of Istanbul, where many government critics are jailed.

He told me he saw the court decision on television last night while writing a letter.

If I had to stay here longer...... he saw the flash on TV and wrote in the letter.

Berberoglu said that Kavala's reaction to the ruling was :

Kavala was among tens of thousands of Turks who were either jailed or fired from their jobs in purges that followed a bloody coup attempt against Erdogan when he was already president in 2016.

He was charged with funding a wave of protests in 2013, which presented a major challenge for Erdogan.

In February 2020, the court acquitted him and released him, only for police to rearrest him before he could return home to his wife.

Another court then accused him of involvement in the failed 2016 putsch.

European officials and human rights activists have protested the sentencing of Kavala.

The decision further increases the concerns of the European Union regarding Turkey's judiciary's adherence to international and European standards, said Peter Stano, the EU's top diplomat.

The German Foreign Ministry said in a statement on the X social network, formerly Twitter.

Erdogan, who won elections in May, reaffirmed Turkey's commitment to resume long-stalled talks to join the European Union, but Brussels said it wants to see concrete progress on democracy and rule of law.

The European Parliament's Turkey rapporteur, Nacho Sanchez Amor, slammed the decision on Kavala.

It's in these kind of things where we should test Turkey's real will to reactivate the EU admission process, he said on social media.

s EU prospects have been positive over the past few years. This is a big step further away from the EU, he said.