Friends call for release of jailed Turkish businessman-activist Osman Kavala

Osman Kavala

Friends of prominent activist and businessman Osman Kavala have called for his release from jail in a joint statement, seven months after he was first detained, according to a report by the Hürriyet Daily News on Sunday.

“We are the witnesses of Osman Kavala’s respected, humble and democratic personality as well as his life. Osman Kavala has been in jail for six months. Very powerful evidence must exist to deny someone’s freedom for so long, but there is no indictment yet,” said the joint statement.

An indictment has still not been drafted for Kavala, who heads the Anadolu Kültür (Anatolian Culture) NGO and also co-founded the İletişim Publishing House. He has for decades been a supporter of many left-liberal causes in Turkey.

The letter was penned by former Justice Minister Aysel Çelikel; Hrant Dink Foundation President Rakel Dink; two former Boğaziçi University rectors, Ayşe Soysal and Üstün Ergüder; two former chairmen of the Istanbul Bar Association, Turgut Kazan and Yücel Sayman; and former Undersecretary of Public Order and Security of the Ministry of the Interior Murat Özçelik.

“This treatment of such a respectable person hurts our conscience and the conscience of society. Members of a society do not have to be of the same opinion in every matter, but they should not be pushed into giving up hope on each other’s consciousness or the mechanisms of justice. Either a serious indictment should be put before the public for Osman Kavala, or he should be released,” the statement said.

Kavala was detained on Oct. 18, 2017. He was charged on Nov. 1, 2017 with “attempting to abolish the constitutional order” and “attempting to remove the government of the Turkish Republic” through alleged links to a July 15, 2016 coup attempt and December 2013 corruption probes into top government figures. He is also accused of being one of the “managers and organizers” of the Gezi Park protests in the summer of 2013.

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