An indictment that has just been submitted to an İstanbul high criminal court demands aggravated life – imprisonment without the chance of parole — for 16 people, including jailed businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala, for their alleged involvement in the 2013 Gezi protests, the Diken news website reported on Wednesday.
The suspects, among them journalist Can Dündar and actor Mehmet Ali Alabora, are charged with “attempting to overthrow the Turkish government.”
Accused of organizing and financing the anti-government Gezi Park protests of 2013, which were violently suppressed by the police, Kavala was detained in October 2017 has been held in pre-trial detention since November 2017.
Three weeks ago Kavala sent a letter from prison complaining about having spent 15 months in pre-trial detention without being indicted.
Last month, Council of Europe (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović submitted an opinion in a case brought by Kavala against the government of Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
Mijatović described Kavala’s incarceration as part of increasing pressure in Turkey on the legitimate activities of human rights activists and civil society organizations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refers to the protests as an attempt to topple his government, and he has publicly targeted Kavala.
“One financier of the Gezi Park terrorists is now in jail. Behind him was the infamous Hungarian Jew [George] Soros,” Erdoğan said back in November.