Kavala, highly regarded by Turkish and foreign intellectuals, has been imprisoned for four years. He is accused of attempting to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by force.
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ordered Turkey to release Kavala three years ago, but so far the Turkish government has stood firm. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has now given Ankara until the end of November to release Kavala. If not, the country faces criminal prosecution that could lead Turkey to have its voting rights withdrawn or even suspended from membership in the national organization.
Last year, a Turkish court acquitted Kavala (64) and eight other detractors of the regime on charges that they were behind the protests around Gezi Park in 2013. They were directed against plans to build a mosque in central Istanbul, but the government claims it was in fact an attempt to overthrow the government.
Kavala was sentenced to life imprisonment, but according to the three judges, there was no evidence of a conviction. Just hours after his acquittal, Kavala was arrested again and charged with allegedly participating in the failed coup against Erdogan in 2016.
The three judges who acquitted Kavala were immediately investigated by the Council of Judges and Prosecutors, a body Erdogan created after the failed coup to oversee the justice system. The council criticized the judges for making errors in their verdict.
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