Turkish court says businessman Osman Kavala ‘inadvertently remanded’

A court in Istanbul removed the order to remand in custody philanthropist Osman Kavala, saying the decision was included in its final ruling by accident, news website T24 reported on Wednesday.

In March, another judge had already ordered Kavala’s release from pre-trial detention in relation to charges of attempting to overthrow Turkey’s constitutional order.

At the time, the philanthropist had just been acquitted in the Gezi Trial, where he stood accused of having funded and organised the 2013 Gezi Park protests, the biggest anti-government demonstrations in Turkey’s history.

He remained in prison when new charges of espionage were brought against him before he could be released.

The court said reviewed case files following media reports and statements by Kavala’s lawyers on the release order, T24 said.

With the remand order removed, the only remaining reason for Kavala’s continued arrest since November 2017 is the espionage charge, for which Kavala faces three counts of life plus 20 years in prison.

Kavala shares the charge with former U.S. State Department employee and Lehigh University scholar Henri Barkey, who in an interview with Ahval said the indictment against both of them would “go down in the annals of jurisprudence worldwide as probably the most ridiculous one.”