BHRC: The “Gezi Park” trial continues on 8 October 2019 with the ongoing detention of Osman Kavala in Turkey

BHRC has issued a public statement renewing its condemnation of the use of terror charges and prolonged detention as reprisals over the “Gezi Park” trial of sixteen leading civil society individuals, including Osman Kavala and Yiğit Aksakoğlu, following the latest hearing on 8 October 2019.

Mr Kavala is now the only defendant still in custody and, by the time of the next hearing on 24 December 2019, will have been detained for over two years. An application for his release was refused on the basis of the seriousness of the offences and the alleged risk of non-attendance at future hearings.

At the hearing, all of the defendants present (including Mr Kavala) were questioned briefly by the court as to their involvement in the Gezi Park protests in May 2013 and their alleged role in organising the protests. The questions were based on the 657-page indictment which presumes that the protests were orchestrated by a single person or organisation.

BHRC has labelled the 657 page indictment as “gravely flawed,” since it presents no evidence to support its presumption that the Gezi Park protests were orchestrated by a single person or organisation or that that person was any of the defendants.

The trial on 8 October was presided over by a different judge to that last hearing in July 2019. Doubts over the independence of the court panel have been expressed, including by lawyer Can Atalay, one of the defendants in this case. 

The statement makes clear that “The attempt to cast peaceful Gezi Park protestors within the net of violent terrorism, but without recourse to proper evidence, shows a chilling disregard for international laws and standards which safeguard rights of freedom of assembly and expression”

BHRC calls for Mr Kavala to be released immediately.