Court frees Turkish civil society leader pending verdict

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ISTANBUL (AP) — A Turkish court has decided to release a civil society leader from detention but kept prominent philanthropist Osman Kavala behind bars pending the outcome of their trial.

The two are among 16 people accused of terror charges and organizing anti-government protests in 2013, allegations that rights group say are baseless and aimed at silencing civil society activities.

The court backed Yigit Aksakoglu’s release on Tuesday during the second hearing of the trial. Aksakoglu, who works for an early childhood education foundation, had been in pre-trial detention for seven months. Kavala has been in pre-trial detention for 19 months.

The defendants have been charged with “attempt to overthrow the government by organizing and financing an “uprising.” The charge carries a life sentence.

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