Turkish court acquits 9 individuals connected to 2013 Instanbul Gezi Park protests
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Turkish court acquits 9 individuals connected to 2013 Instanbul Gezi Park protests

A Turkish court on Tuesday acquitted nine of 16 individuals on charges related to organizing the 2013 Gezi Park protests.

Among the acquitted were architects, a journalist, lawyers, actors and Osman Kavala, a Turkish businessman and philanthropist who served two years in prison prior to the trial. The entire group faced the collective possibility of 47,520 years in prison.

In May of 2013, hundreds of thousands of Turkish protestors occupied Gezi Park in protests against Turkish government plans to build a replica of an Ottoman barracks in the park. The Turkish government ordered police to break up the protests, and more than 8,000 protesters were injured and many arrested.

Human rights groups such as Amnesty International condemned the arrests of the protesters:

Amnesty International is concerned that many of these detentions may have been arbitrary and due solely to individuals exercising their right to peaceful assembly. Amnesty International observed, for instance, large numbers of detentions of protestors on 16 June on Sıraselviler and nearby backstreets close to Taksim Square. In none of these cases did individuals appear to have engaged in any acts of violence, indeed police officers appeared to be randomly detaining anyone taking part in the protest.

Lawyers also anticipate the acquittal of the remaining seven individuals charged. Unfortunately, Amnesty reports that some of them including Osman Kavala were rearrested hours after their release.