UN official criticizes Kavala prison: courts operate according to government instructions

A senior official of the international human rights organization Human Rights Watch criticized the Turkish judiciary, commenting on the life sentence handed down two days ago by a court in Istanbul against the famous businessman Osman Kavala, known for his activities charity, who was arrested on October 17. In 2017, Ankara subsequently refused to release him despite requests from its Western allies to do so so many times.

“The issuance of life imprisonment against Kavala is ample evidence that the courts in Turkey are operating on the instructions of the presidency, “said Emma Sinclair-Webb, representative of the international organization in Turkey and in Central Asia.

He added to “Al Arabiya.net”that” Turkey’s relations with the Council of Europe are already in crisis and will become more tense with the recent ruling against a prominent businessman, “which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses of being behind the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul that took place in 2013. In addition to his involvement in the practice of” military and political espionage “and participation in the failed coup attempt against his government on July 15, 2016.

The representative of the international organization revealed that “Kavala’s lawyer and seven other defendants will appeal against the sentences handed down against their clients”.

And he continued: “Although Kavala was sentenced to life in prison without parole, this sentence will be appealed and the appeal could lead to his eventual release”.

Life imprisonment

The lawyers who will defend Kavala in Turkish courts are preparing to ask for an appeal to be presented to the Istanbul court, which the day before yesterday had issued a life sentence against their client, convicted of trying to overthrow the government in 2013, a charge which Kavala (64) categorically denies with all the other accusations made against him.

The recent verdict against Kavala sparked a strong international reaction: the US State Department expressed “extreme concern and disappointment” at the sentence of a Turkish court, calling his life sentence on controversial charges “unfair”.

Also, on Monday, German Foreign Minister Annalina Birbock called for the “immediate release” of the prominent Paris-born businessman after being convicted by an Istanbul court and sentenced to life in prison.

Kavala’s detention has strained relations between Ankara and Western countries, and his recent verdict sparked swift complaints from some of Turkey’s key NATO allies.

The way in Kavala was treated to prompted the Council of Europe to enact rare disciplinary measures that could lead to Ankara’s suspension from the continent’s largest human rights group.

Kavala, who is of Greek origin, and whose family is historically famous for the tobacco trade, was in favor of the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia, which he had already visited years ago, mainly because the cultural institution he founded a long time ago ago was working to support pace and civil coexistence in Turkey and its neighborhood.

And its cultural institution was already active in the Kurdish-majority cities of southeastern Turkey. In addition to the regions located in the South Caucasus.

Before his detention, Kavala was close to the leaders of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party and also enjoys a prominent position in civil society in his country and abroad, especially after being detained for years without conviction.

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