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Turkish businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala sentenced to life over Gezi Park protests

Kavala was sentenced in connection with the 2013 anti-government protests in Turkey, which began over a plan to turn a small park in central Istanbul into a shopping mall in the summer.

The demonstrations quickly morphed into larger anti-government rallies across Turkey. The court also sentenced seven other defendants to 18-year prison sentences for aiding an attempt to overthrow the government. Among them was 71-year-old architect Mucella Yapici, Istanbul Municipality urban planner Tayfun Kahraman and documentary filmmaker Cigdem Mater.

Istanbul’s 13th Heavy Penal Court ordered that the activists, who were not arrested pretrial, to be immediately arrested, Anadolu reported.

Kavala, his lawyers, other defendants and their lawyers have repeatedly denied the accusations, saying prosecutors lack evidence to support the claims. They are also expected to appeal the verdict.

Kavala, 64, is…

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