January 29
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The European Court of Human Rights called on Turkey to release businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala, HRW reported.

Kavala was detained in 2017 on charges of trying to overthrow the government. His supporters condemned the charges as politically motivated. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Kavala, and said he was an agent for US financier George Soros.

ECHR ruled that Turkey was unable to prove that Kavala’s initial and ongoing preliminary detention was justified by reasonable suspicions based on an objective assessment of the actions attributed to him.

Turkey must take all measures to put an end to the applicant’s detention and ensure his immediate release, the court concluded.

Kavala, who remains in custody and appeared in court in June, was charged with attempting to overthrow the government and constitution by participating in protests against Erdogan in 2013 and the failed 2016 coup. He denies the allegations.

The ECHR stated that his detention was based not only on actions that could not reasonably be regarded as criminal conduct under domestic law, but also on actions guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.

According to the statement, in the absence of facts, information or evidence that Mr. Kavala was involved in criminal activity, he cannot reasonably be suspected of trying to overthrow the government.

The court also ruled that the violations in the case pursued a goal to silence Mr. Kavala and all human rights defenders with him.

Kavala is the chair of the Anatolia Cultural Foundation, which seeks to overcome ethnic and regional differences through art and culture.

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