An Istanbul court on Feb. 18 ruled to acquit businessman and rights defender Osman Kavala and nine other defendants of charges of “attempting to overthrow the government” during the nationwide Gezi Park protests in 2013.
The court decision comes after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in December last year called for his immediate release, saying there was a lack of reasonable suspicion that he had committed an offence.
Kavala has been in prison for more than two years.
Kavala and two other defendants had been facing life sentences without parole, while the other defendants were accused of aiding them in attempting to overthrow the government by organizing the protests.
On March 4, 2019, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office sent an indictment to the court, recommending aggravated life term for all the defendants charged with “attempting to overthrow the Turkish government.”
In the summer of 2013, relatively small demonstrations in Istanbul’s Gezi Park grew into a nationwide wave of protests against the government that left eight protesters and a police officer dead.