The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday told Turkey to release philanthropist and human rights activist, Osman Kavala, who is on trial for attempting to overthrow the government.
In a trenchant judgement, the Strasbourg-based court ruled that Kavala had been detained to silence him.
The court said the stance of Turkish prosecutors also suggested that the aim of his detention might have been to dissuade other human rights defenders.
Kavala was detained in 2017, and in Feb. 2019, he was indicted on charges of attempting to overthrow the government and the constitutional order during the 2013 Gezi Park protests.
The ECHR said the indictment came after two speeches in which President Recep Erdogan denounced Kavala by name.
Kavala and 15 others, not currently in detention, went on trial in June over their alleged role in May 2013 protests against the government’s plans to redevelop central Istanbul, destroying one of the last green areas.
However, Police violently dispersed a peaceful sit-in in the park, but the crackdown only caused anti-government protests to spread nationwide.
The 657-page indictment against Kavala and the other defendants lists Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time, among the injured parties.