Turkey’s top court rejects jailed philanthropist’s complaint

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s highest court on Tuesday rejected a complaint by a philanthropist businessman and human rights defender that his more than three-year detention in prison without a conviction amounts to a violation of his rights.

Osman Kavala, 63, was acquitted earlier this year of terrorism-related charges for allegedly organizing and financing mass anti-government protests in 2013. But as his supporters awaited his release, authorities issued a warrant for his re-arrest, this time accusing him of links to a 2016 failed coup attempt.

Kavala has been held in prison since he was detained in October 2017, despite a European Court of Human Rights ruling for his release.

In May, the businessman applied to Turkey’s Constitutional Court seeking to overturn the new detention order which he said was unlawful.

But justices reviewing Kavala’s case ruled 8-7 against him, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Kavala faces life in prison if found guilty of the charge of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order, and another 20 years for alleged “military and political espionage” against Turkey. Kavala denies the charges, which human rights groups have denounced as politically motivated.

In the opening hearing of the new case against him earlier this month, a court in Istanbul rejected a request for his release and adjourned until Feb. 5.

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