Kavala: The deliberate distortion in the indictment prepared against me was publicly disclosed after Barkey’s statement
Philanthropist Osman Kavala, who was sentenced to life in prison in April on charges of attempting to overthrow the Turkish government, said that the deliberate distortion in the indictment prepared against him was publicly disclosed after Henri Barkey's statement that the person with whom he had dinner in Istanbul on July 18, 2016 was not Kavala but Turkish journalist Asli Aydintasbas.
Kavala said they filed a second complaint to the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) against the prosecutors who prepared the indictment.
“We think that preventing such indictments, which constitute the basis for unlawful trials, is the primary problem of our country's judiciary. We hope that our complaints to HSK will serve this purpose,” Kavala said in a statement on Thursday.
Their first complaint was about the use of false statements in the indictment, Kavala added.
An Istanbul court on April 25, convicted Kavala to life in prison without parole for seeking to overthrow the government by financing the Gezi Park protests of 2013.
The prosecutors blamed Kavala for collaborating with Barkey, an Istanbul-born American academic who had been accused by Turkey of spying for foreign governments and being among the organizers of the 2016 coup attempt. The indictment claimed that Barkey and Kavala had dinner at Karakoy restaurant in Istanbul on July 18, 2016, three days after the failed coup.
On Aug. 6, Barkey said that he dined with Aydintasbas, not Kavala.
“I was at the Karakoy restaurant on July 18, 2016, to have dinner with a friend and journalist, Asli Aydintasbas,” Barkey said in his statement posted via Twitter.
“I had a chance encounter with the civil society activist, Osman Kavala, at the Karakoy restaurant that same evening. Mr Kavala and I chatted for a few minutes before I proceeded to my dinner with Ms Aydintasbas,” Barkey said.
Please read my statement about my dinner at Karakoy restaurant on July 18, 2016. pic.twitter.com/dXZ9HNgoyp— Henri Barkey (@hbarkey) August 6, 2022
Ahead of the hearing that he was sentenced to life in prison in April, Kavala had spent four and a half years behind bars without a conviction, since he was arrested in November 2017. In 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) called on Turkey to immediately release Kavala, citing lack of evidence and a breach to his rights to freedom. The court said that his arrest was politically motivated.