Turkish law says philanthropist Kavala must be freed by Tuesday - columnist

According to Turkish law, philanthropist and rights activist Osman Kavala should be freed from pre-trial detention by Tuesday, columnist Kadri Gürsel wrote for news site Diken.

Kavala, who was arrested in November 2017, was acquitted last week of attempting to violently overthrow the government through the 2013 Gezi Park protests. But he was immediately re-arrested on charges related to the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016.

According to the most recent legal changes, the law of criminal procedure clearly states that suspects may be held under arrest for a maximum of two years during the investigation phase without a lawsuit being filed, Gürsel wrote.

As the Gezi trial continued, another investigation was in progress against Kavala for attempting to topple the constitutional order. The charges stemmed from Kavala’s alleged “intense communication” with Henri Barkey, a U.S. academic who is also accused of being a coup plotter.

The prosecutor handling the investigation ruled for Kavala’s release regarding the second investigation on Oct. 11, 2019, but Kavala remained in prison due to his ongoing Gezi trial.

After his acquittal, Kavala should have been released, but a new arrest warrant was issued within hours based on the second investigation.

The case for which Kavala was released, and the case for which he was re-arrested last week are exactly the same case, with the same case number and the same charges, Gürsel quoted Kavala’s lawyer İlkan Koyuncu as saying.

The two years will be up on Feb. 25, Gürsel wrote, as Kavala had been in pre-trial detention from Oct. 18, 2017, when he was first detained, to Oct. 11, 2019, when the court ordered his release on the second investigation.