Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

Turkey

Turkey court defies order to release two prominent journalists

By AFP 12/1/2018
A protester holds a poster of Mehmet Altan outside a Turkish court in  2017. Altan, 64, has written books on Turkish politics. His brother Ahmet, a novelist and journalist for some of Turkey's leading dailies, is also being held in the same case, but has not had a ruling yet. File photo: AFP
A protester holds a poster of Mehmet Altan outside a Turkish court in 2017. Altan, 64, has written books on Turkish politics. His brother Ahmet, a novelist and journalist for some of Turkey's leading dailies, is also being held in the same case, but has not had a ruling yet. File photo: AFP
by Stuart WILLIAMS

ISTANBUL, Turkey – An Istanbul court on Thursday defied an order from Turkey's top constitutional body to release two prominent jailed writers on the grounds their rights had been violated.

Rights campaigners had hoped the release of Sahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan could help dozens of other journalists arrested after the failed 2016 plot to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Alpay and Altan had been accused -- in separate cases -- of links to US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen who Ankara says masterminded the coup attempt. Gulen denies the charges.

The Ankara-based Constitutional Court ruled that the pair should be freed on the grounds that their rights had been violated. Six of the 11-judge panel voted in favour of their release. 

It is believed to be the first time that a higher Turkish court has issued such a ruling in the coup bid aftermath.

But late in the evening after reviewing their cases in the light of the Constitutional Court's ruling, the Istanbul criminal court ruled that both men should remain behind bars, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

A legal rationale for the new ruling was not immediately available.

After the Constitutional Court's decision was made public, the suspects' lawyers had taken the ruling to the lower courts in a bid to have their clients released.

The Hurriyet daily said that Istanbul court said that it had not received any formal notification of the order from the higher court, thus the release request was rejected.

- 'Test case' -
Alpay, 73, is a political scientist who wrote a column for the now closed staunchly pro-Gulen Zaman newspaper. 

Mehmet Altan, 64, has written books on Turkish politics. His brother Ahmet, a novelist and journalist for some of Turkey's leading dailies, is also being held in the same case, but has not had a ruling yet.

Prosecutors in December had demanded life terms for the brothers as well as for prominent commentator Nazli Ilicak.

Their case is separate to the trial of 17 current and former writers, cartoonists and executives from the opposition Cumhuriyet ("Republic") daily on charges of supporting terror groups. 

Three of the suspects in that case are still behind bars, including investigative reporter Ahmet Sik. 

According to the P24 press freedom website, there are 151 journalists in Turkish prisons, most of whom were detained under the state of emergency imposed after the coup bid.

"I hope that this decision will be a good example for the (cases of) the dozens of journalists arbitrarily arrested" after the coup, Erol Onderoglu, the representative of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in Turkey, told AFP before the Istanbul court decision was announced.

According to Turkish officials, over 55,000 people have been arrested in the post-coup crackdown whose magnitude has been criticised by Turkey's Western allies. 

Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International's Director for Europe, had also hailed the Constitutional Court's ruling.

"Turkey's highest court has finally broken its silence on the flagrant attack on journalists and other critical voices," she said in a statement. 

"This ruling must serve as a test case and lead to the release of thousands of others arbitrarily detained under the ongoing post-coup crackdown."

Comments

 
nunya | 12/1/2018
"Defies orders" lololololololololol.

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Yassir Fekaiki
Yassir Fekaiki | 10/16/2018 10:13:15 PM
Thank Bafel talabany and his henchmen, how come no kurd is holding the traitors accountable?
mark bishop | 10/18/2018 7:27:40 AM
We have great respect for Masoud Barzani. But his statement on October 16 only gives us half of a message. He says that the events leading up to...
Kurds want justice a year after Iraq's takeover of Kirkuk
| 16/10/2018 | (6)
Jiyan | 10/18/2018 7:15:41 AM
Bahman Ghoubadi's films have had no good use for Kurds, they only belittle Kurds as premimitive and useless. I hope other filmmakers will be more...
Kurdish filmmakers need to be better storytellers: Amir Gholami
| yesterday at 11:51 | (1)
haluk | 10/17/2018 4:53:04 AM
Around 1200 BC, different factors such as climate change, volcano eruptions, earthquakes and large scale migrations (the mysterious "sea people")...
Orxan | 10/17/2018 11:44:08 PM
This Is Assyria and mesopotamian history Kurds are Iranians, they do not belong in this land
Ancient lost city of Mardaman slowly gives up its secrets
| 16/10/2018 | (3)
Ian Birmingham | 10/17/2018 7:41:56 PM
As clearly demonstrated on 25 September 2017, 93% of KRG voters favor independence from Iraq. PUK lied to and betrayed KRG on 16 October 2017,...
Burkan | 10/17/2018 9:57:41 PM
Where’s the sources for the conversations and meetongs that took place? Any third party or just what youclaim?
The fight for Iraq’s presidency: What happened on October 2?
| yesterday at 01:45 | (7)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Pipe connects Duhok with Mosul Dam to help dwindling supply in Kurdistan 12 hours ago |

Pipe connects Duhok with Mosul Dam to help dwindling supply in Kurdistan

It is clean water and we are connecting it to more
Rights group: Insulting the Turkish president shouldn't be a crime 13 hours ago |

Rights group: Insulting the Turkish president shouldn't be a crime

Four graduates of the Middle East Technical more
0.985 seconds