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Turkey: accused of wanting to overthrow the government, a billionaire sentenced to life imprisonment

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Turkish patron Osman Kavala was sentenced in Istanbul on Monday to life in prison without the possibility of remission. He is accused of trying to overthrow the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Osman Kavala, who has always denied the charges against him, had been detained for four and a half years in the high security prison of Silivri, near Istanbul.

Seven co-defendants, who appeared at the same time as the 64-year-old publisher and billionaire, were sentenced to 18 years in prison, accused of having supported him.

A figure in Turkish civil society, Osman Kavala is accused, among other things, of having participated in the 2016 coup attempt.

A defender of the Armenian and Kurdish cause, Osman Kavala had supported the anti-government demonstrations of the Gezi in 2013 and campaigned for the “no” in the 2017 constitutional referendum on the strengthening of the powers of President Erdogan.

The three defenders of Osman Kavala argued Monday in their pleadings the lack of evidence and the relentlessness of power in this marathon trial qualified as politics.

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