France condemns life sentence for Turkey’s Kavala

France on Tuesday condemned the life sentence handed by a Turkish court to prominent rights advocate and businessman Osman Kavala, saying his detention violated Turkey’s international obligations, Agence France-Presse reported.

“France strongly condemns the life sentence,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, calling for Kavala’s “immediate release” and the dropping of all charges against him. He had been detained for more than four-and a-half years “in violation of Turkey’s international obligations,” the French ministry added.

A leading figure in Turkey’s civil society, 64-year-old Kavala was accused of financing protests against then-prime minister Erdoğan’s government during large-scale protests in 2013 and involvement in a failed military coup in 2016. Monday’s ruling only covered the case stemming from the 2013 unrest.

Kavala’s plight had soured relations between Ankara and Western nations and Monday’s ruling from an İstanbul court has drawn swift condemnation from some of Turkey’s main allies in the NATO defense alliance as well as rights campaigners.

His treatment has prompted the Council of Europe to launch rare disciplinary proceedings that could ultimately see Turkey’s membership suspended in the continent’s main human rights grouping.

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