ISTANBUL – An Istanbul court is expected Tuesday to deliver a “landmark” verdict on 16 civil society activists on trial for sedition. For one of the defendants, a leading philanthropist and supporter of civil society, the case is drawing international scrutiny seen as pivotal in determining the direction of the country. “The outcome of this case will show the rest of the world whether respect for human rights has any part to play in the Turkish justice system,” Milena Buyum, Amnesty International’s Turkey campaigner, said in a statement released Monday. Prosecutors accused the 16 defendants of supporting and organizing anti-government protests in 2013 against then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is now president. The protests were called the Gezi movement after the park in Istanbul where they began. Prosecutors are calling for sentences of up to life in prison without parole. Among the accused is Osman Kavala, one of Turkey’s leading philanthropists and supporters of civil society, who has been jailed for more than two years. “He has been a very key linchpin figure in civil society. That is why he has been targeted, and that’s what the European court also said,” said senior Turkey researcher Emma Sinclair-Webb… Read full this story
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