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Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala spends 700th day behind bars

The prominent civil society figure marks 700 days in prison this week during his trial for allegedly plotting against the government, a charge worth life without possibility of parole.
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - DECEMBER 11:  Member of the International Peace and Reconciliation Initiative (IPRI) delegation to Turkey Osman Kavala is seen during a joint press conference with Chair of the Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left at the European Parliament Gabriele Zimmer, Chair of IPRI Judge Essa Moosa, French politician Francis Wurtz and Chair of the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) Kariane Westrheim after 11th International Conference on the European Union, Turkey, the M

ISTANBUL — Human rights defenders on Monday called the continued detention of Osman Kavala, a philanthropist who promoted reconciliation with Armenians and Kurds in Turkey, a “political decision” that seeks to instill fear among Turkey's civil society.

On Tuesday, Kavala, who turns 62 this week, will have spent 700 days in prison on charges he organized mass protests to save an Istanbul park in 2013 in a secret effort to topple the government. He and 15 others return to court next week and, if convicted, face life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in a case decried by the European Union as undermining human rights.

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