Court rejects objection to arrest of 10 Cumhuriyet editors

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An İstanbul court on Wednesday rejected an objection filed by attorneys to the imprisonment of 10 Cumhuriyet daily editors and executives who have been behind bars for the last 66 days.

The 12th Penal Court of Peace denied the request of the Cumhuriyet daily’s lawyers on the grounds that evidence has not yet been collected.

An operation targeting the opposition Cumhuriyet daily culminated in the arrest of 10 people including the paper’s CEO and columnists on charges of terrorist propaganda.

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Oct. 31 issued detention warrants for 18 journalists from the daily on charges of aiding the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and FETÖ.

FETÖ is a derogatory term and acronym for the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to refer to the Gülen movement, which Erdoğan and the AKP accuse of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.

The prosecutor’s office said the detentions followed an investigation into allegations that the newspaper had published material justifying the events of July 15.

Cumhuriyet editors deny the charges, often expressing their absurdity in messages from prison and through their lawyers. For instance, a renowned columnist from Cumhuriyet, Kadri Gürsel, is accused of sending subliminal messages in one of his columns. Imprisoned brothers Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan are also accused of sending subliminal messages in support the coup attempt a day before it took place, during a TV show on which they appeared.

Currently, at least 145 journalists are imprisoned in Turkey.

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