ECHR rejects Turkey’s appeal against ruling on jailed businessman Osman Kavala

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejected on Tuesday an appeal by Turkey against a ruling that called for the immediate release of jailed Turkish philanthropist and businessman Osman Kavala.

Kavala has been imprisoned since November 2017, facing charges of conspiracy to overthrow the Turkish government. Prosecutors accused him of masterminding the Gezi Park protests of 2013, Turkey’s biggest anti-government demonstrations since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamist party came to power in 2002.

In February, Kavala was cleared of charges related to the nationwide protests, only to be re-arrested the following day on espionage charges related to the July 2016 failed coup attempt.

The 62-year-old humanitarian denies all the charges. 

The ECHR ruled in December that Turkey had violated Kavala’s rights and called for his immediate release.

Tuesday's decision by the top European court pertains to previous terror charges levelled against Kavala over involvement in Istanbul's 2013 Gezi Park protests and will not affect current espionage charges against the jailed businessman, news site T24 said.

International civil society groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also called on Turkey to immediately release Kavala.

Erdoğan has gone on record saying Kavala provided financial support for terrorists during the Gezi protests and that he is backed by Hungarian-American investor and philanthropist George Soros.

Soros, one of the world's most renowned financial investors, is accused of secretly engineering a range of recent events in global politics.

Kavala has accused Erdoğan of preventing his release from prison.