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Turkey rearrests rights activist Kavala hours after acquittal

EPA/SEDAT SUNA
Turkish riot police fire tear gas towards protesters during clashes with anti-government demonstrators in Istanbul, Turkey, 16 June 2013. Hundreds of anti-government demonstrators were injured as Turkish police used excessive force to clear Istanbul's Gezi Park, the main group organizing the protests said 16 June.

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Turkish prosecutors have issued a new arrest warrant for rights activist Osman Kavala, just hours after he was acquitted on terrorism charges in a trial related to the 2013 Istanbul protests in Gezi Park.
Kavala, 65, has been in detention for two years for “attempting to overthrow the government”, in particular, for financing the 2013 violent protests of civil disobedience against the authoritarian regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. At least 11 people were killed and thousands were injured in the 2013 clashes between police and protesters.
Prosecutors have issued a new arrest warrant after Kavala was ordered released from prison following 840 days of detention. The new charges include attempting to overthrow the Turkish constitutional order through his alleged connections to a coup attempt in July 2016 against Erdogan’s government.
Ankara blames the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen’s network for plotting the 2016 coup attempt. Yesterday, Turkish prosecutors have issued a new wave of detention warrants against 695 people suspected of links to Gulen’s network.
Kavala’s rearrest is widely seen as “an attempt by the authorities to keep Kavala behind bars”. “We are shocked by this new imprisonment”, the German foreign tweeted, demanding a quick explanation from Turkey “in compliance with the standards of rule of law to which Turkey has committed itself”.
Erdogan described the Gezi protests as a “heinous attack similar to military coups and terrorism” that allegedly cost the country billions of dollars.
Since the 2016 coup, some 80,000 people have been arrested and around 150,000 others have been fired from state jobs in the crackdown.

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