Government - Turkey Rearrests Gezi Protest Leader
Moments after he was acquitted by an Istanbul court, Turkish police re-arrested a leading figure in the 2013 protests in Gezi Park that led to wider demonstrations against authoritarian leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkish prosecutors charged philanthropist Osman Kavala with terrorism for leading the opposition to clearing out trees in the Istanbul green space to make way for a shopping mall that Erdogan wanted. A number of people were killed by security forces as the protests turned into a referendum on Erdogan, but he prevailed and thousands were arrested. The case dragged on for years, but Mr. Kavala was found not guilty this week. Cheers could be heard in the courtroom as the verdict was read out.
However, the public prosecutor presented fresh charges against Kavala, accusing him of having supported the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 15 July 2016.
"To have been granted release after almost two-and-a-half years behind bars only to have the door to freedom so callously slammed in his face is a devastating blow for Osman Kavala, his family and all who stand for justice in Turkey," said Amnesty International.
In another blow to what's left of Turkey's legal system under the rule of Erdogan, the Ankara-based Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) - Turkey's legal disciplinary body - has opened an investigation into the panel of judges who acquitted Mr. Kavala of the terrorism charges.