Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.
Osman Kavala remains behind bars as Gezi Park trial resumes
Ruling to review the case file for the “Çarşı trial” to decide on whether to merge with the present case, the court set 6 August as the date for the next hearing
The “Gezi Park trial” got under way once again on 21 May 2021 at the Istanbul 30th High Criminal Court after the acquittals of nine defendants were reversed by a regional court of appeals in January and the file against seven other defendants -- whose files had been separated because they did not attend the hearings -- was merged again with the main case in April. All 16 defendants are accused of organizing and financing 2013’s nationwide Gezi protests.
P24 monitored the hearing, where jailed businessperson and civil society leader Osman Kavala, who has been imprisoned since November 2017, addressed the court from the Silivri Prison via the judicial video-conferencing network SEGBİS. His co-defendants Mücella Yapıcı, Can Atalay and Tayfun Kahraman and defense lawyers were in the courtroom. The “coup” case against Kavala and US academic Henri Barkey has also been merged with the Gezi trial.
The defendants in attendance rejected the regional court of appeals’ decision to reverse the acquittals in the Gezi trial and asked the court to once again rule for acquittal. Concerning the decisions to merge the “coup” case against Kavala and the “Çarşı trial,” recently remanded to its trial court by the Supreme Court of Appeals, with the Gezi trial, the defendants and their lawyers demanded that the court refuse merging unrelated case files in a single court case.
Issuing an interim ruling at the end of the hearing, the Istanbul 30th High Criminal Court decided to wait for the execution of the arrest warrants for defendants who have failed to attend hearings so far; to review the case file for the “Çarşı trial” to decide on whether to merge with the present case; and by a majority ordered the continuation of Kavala’s detention. The presiding judge gave a dissenting opinion concerning Kavala’s detention, saying he should be released pending trial because all evidence has been collected. The court set 6 August 2021 as the date for the next hearing.