Turkish businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala dismissed new charges of espionage against him, calling them “more ridiculous” than the previous allegations levelled at him, news website Gazete Karınca reported on Tuesday.
A new arrest warrant issued by an Istanbul court on Monday over charges of “military or political espionage” is proof that “the intention to maintain my arrest at all costs has dragged members of the judiciary to the point of violating the law”, it quoted Kavala as saying, in a statement released by his lawyers.
The current charges are “much more ridiculous” than the previous ones, Kavala said, adding that if accepted as normal, the arrest warrant may set a dangerous precedent for future criminal cases.
Kavala was cleared of charges related to nationwide Gezi park protests in 2013 last month, only to be re-arrested the following day over attempting to overthrow the constitutional order in a failed coup attempt of July 2016.
A second arrest warrant, in this case for espionage, was issued in relation to the coup attempt on Monday.
The 62-year-old philanthropist denies all the charges. Kavala accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of intervening to prevent his release from prison last month.
Erdoğan has gone on record saying Kavala provided finances for terrorists during the country’s 2013 Gezi protests and that he is backed by Hungarian-American investor and philanthropist George Soros.