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Leading Turkish activist back in court, remanded again

ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkey’s leading activist Osman Kavala, who at the weekend marked his 1,600th day in prison without conviction, appeared before court yesterday for the first time in months, only to have his case adjourned and his detention extended.

The philanthropist is accused of financing 2013 anti-government protests and playing a role in a coup plot against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The case has strained Turkey’s ties with the West and become a symbol of Turkey’s sweeping crackdown on government opponents.

Kavala has been detained since 2017 in a huge prison complex on the outskirts of Istanbul, in defiance of a European Court of Human Rights ruling to release him.

Last month, the Council of Europe (COE) launched rare disciplinary action against Turkey over the case, which Ankara denounced as interference.

Kavala, who had snubbed court hearings since October, yesterday attended the latest hearing in Istanbul’s main court Caglayan via a video link from his prison in Silivri.

His presence had built up expectations that the three judges overseeing his trial could be poised to deliver a final verdict.

Many Western observers, including diplomats from France and the United States were present in the packed courtroom, an AFP journalist reported.

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