Turkish high appeals court upholds rulings against five rights defenders in Gezi trial
Turkey's high court of appeals on Thursday upheld the rulings against Osman Kavala, Can Atalay, Tayfun Kahraman, Mine Ozerden and Cigdem Mater Utku in the case of Gezi protests.
Kavala was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole by the local court over a spurious charge of "attempting to overthrow the elected government" in the context of the protests in which millions of people participated in 2013. Atalay, Kahraman and Mater in the same case were each sentenced to 18 years in prison over "aiding an attempt to overthrow the government."
The high court overturned the convictions of Ali Hakan Altinay, Yigit Ali Ekmekci and Ayse Mucella, who were also each sentenced to 18 years of imprisonment over "aiding."
The court said that the three suspects should have faced the charge of "violating the law on mass gatherings and demonstrations," but not the charge of "aiding an attempt to overthrow the government."
It also ordered the release of Yapici and Altinay.
While many people, including Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, expressed reaction to the court's decision of confirming the convictions of five suspects, journalist Can Dundar said:
"A complete legal disaster... A case of personal grudge."