Turkey: Gezi Park trial lacks any evidence of criminal activity and must be dropped

Ahead of the start of the trial on 24 June of civil society leader Osman Kavala, Yiğit Aksakoğlu & 14 others on trumped up charges of ‘attempting to overthrow the government’ by ‘organizing and financing’ the peaceful Gezi park protests of 2013, Amnesty International’s Andrew Gardner said:

“Today, Osman Kavala - who should not have spent a single day in jail - marks 600 days behind bars in pre-trial detention. This trial speaks volumes about the deeply flawed judiciary that has allowed this political witch-hunt to take place.

The 657-page indictment against Osman Kavala, Yiğit Aksakoğlu and 14 others does not contain a single shred of evidence that they were in any way involved in criminal activity
Amnesty International’s Andrew Gardner

“The 657-page indictment against Osman Kavala, Yiğit Aksakoğlu and 14 others does not contain a single shred of evidence that they were in any way involved in criminal  activity, let alone conspiring to overthrow the government. Instead it is absurdly attempting to portray routine civil society activities as crimes.

“This trial is nothing more than an egregious attempt to silence some of Turkey’s most prominent civil society figures. Osman Kavala and Yiğit Aksakoğlu must be immediately released and the absurd charges against all 16 of them must be dropped.”

Background

Osman Kavala and Yiğit Aksakoğlu have been in pre-trial detention in the Silivri High Security Prison near Istanbul since 1 November 2017 and 17 November 2018 respectively.  

On 19 February 2019, the prosecution finally submitted an indictment against  Osman Kavala, Yiğit Aksakoğlu and 14 others on the allegation of 'attempting to overthrow the government of the Turkish republic or to prevent it from performing its duties’.

Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 30 accepted this indictment on 4 March 2019. The first hearing in the case is scheduled to take place on 24 and 25 June 2019 at Silivri prison, where Amnesty International representatives will be present.

A much larger group of civil society figures continue to be investigated under the auspices of the same investigation