Turkish prosecutors keep ‘backup files’ to use against gov’t opponents - lawyer

Turkish prosecutors appear to have some case files in reserve in order to issue a warrant for a re-arrest in case Turkish courts acquit high-profile opponents like businessman Osman Kavala, the former head of Turkish judicial association YARSAV, told Duvar news site. 

Human rights activist Kavala was re-arrested this week on coup charges after being acquitted by a court the same day on charges of overthrowing the government.

Kavala was accused of organising and financing the 2013 Gezi protests, the biggest anti-government demonstrations that the country has witnessed since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan came to power in 2003. 

But hours after the court verdict, the Istanbul Chief Prosecutors’ Office demanded Kavala be detained in connection to an investigation into a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. 

“Of course it is impossible to explain the decision to re-arrest Kavala on legal grounds,” Ömer Faruk Eminağaoğlu told Duvar. 

“It appears the case file over which Kavala was re-arrested was related to an investigation opened in 2017,” he said. “Well then, if he was not acquitted from the Gezi trial and was sentenced instead, would the case linked the July 15 be opened,” Eminağaoğlu asked. 

“That means a case file is kept as a reserve on shelves for everyone. When the defendant is acquitted it one trial, the shelved files are activated,” he said. 

Turkey's Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) launched on Wednesday an investigation into three judges who acquitted Kavala and eight other activists, after Erdoğan slammed the court’s verdict. 

“HSK’s decision to launch an investigation is a direct intervention to the judiciary,” Eminağaoğlu said. “What the HSK did is not fulfilling its duties, but is trying to influence the judiciary by violating the limits of its powers." 

Eminağaoğlu said Kavala was not the only person who faced such a treatment, adding that a former general was re-arrested on other charges one month ago after being acquitted on other charges. 

“The judges are expected to look into the eyes of the government when making decisions,” Eminağaoğlu said. “Conditions for fair trial have totally been destroyed.”