Turkey probes judges who acquitted businessman, activists
ISTANBUL – The body overseeing Turkish judges and prosecutors has launched an investigation into three judges who acquitted philanthropist businessman Osman Kavala and eight other activists of terrorism charges, Turkey’s state media reported on Wednesday.
The move by the parliament- and government-appointed Council of Judges and Prosecutors came hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke out against the defendants’ acquittals over their alleged role in mass anti-government protests that erupted in 2013, casting a shadow over the independence of the judiciary.
The panel of three judges on Tuesday cleared Kavala and eight of his co-defendants of terror-related charges and ruled for the release of the businessman, jailed for 840 days. As his supporters awaited his release, however, prosecutors ordered Kavala detained again, this time for his alleged ties to a 2016 failed coup attempt.
The state-run Anadolu Agency said the three judges would be investigated over possible “flaws“ in their judgement.
Kavala’s re-arrest sparked criticism from the European Union and the Council of Europe.
Erdogan however, denounced “attempts to acquit“ Kavala and urged respect for the new detention warrant.
He described the 2013 anti-government protests against his government as a “heinous attack similar to military coups, ultimatums and terrorism“ that allegedly cost the country billions of dollars.
He also accused Kavala of being the “Turkish leg“ of billionaire U.S. philanthropist George Soros, whom the Turkish leader alleged was behind insurrections in many countries.
Source: Toronto Star