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Gezi Park detainees to finally get day in court

The Gezi trials, in which 16 people face life imprisonment without parole, are set to finally begin and will test judicial independence in Turkey.
A protester holds a Turkish flag as riot police order them to evacuate Gezi Park in central Istanbul June 15, 2013. Thousands of people took to the streets of Istanbul overnight on Sunday, erecting barricades and starting bonfires, after riot police firing teargas and water cannon stormed a park at the centre of two weeks of anti-government unrest. Lines of police backed by armoured vehicles sealed off Taksim Square in the centre of the city as officers raided the adjoining Gezi Park late on Saturday, where

This weekend, the Istanbul election do-over will provide a vital test for Turkey’s democratic institutions. The assessment will continue on Monday, when the nation’s judiciary will be put in the spotlight with the start of the much-awaited Gezi trials.

Sixteen people are facing life imprisonment without parole for allegedly organizing and financing the 2013 Istanbul Gezi Park protests. Among them are the philanthropist Osman Kavala, who has been in pretrial detention since November 2017, and Yigit Aksakoglu, an early childhood education advocate who's been jailed for more than seven months.

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