Second hearing of Cumhuriyet journalists begins

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Protesters hold Cumhuriyet daily newspapers and placards, reading "Freedom to journalists", during a demonstration before the controversial trial of staff from Turkey's main opposition daily on September 11, 2017 at the Silivri district in Istanbul. The case, which opened in Istanbul in July, involves 17 current and former writers, cartoonists and executives from Cumhuriyet ("Republic") who are being tried on "terror" charges in a move denounced by supporters as absurd. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

The second hearing in the trial of Cumhuriyet daily journalists and executives who were arrested in November 2016 on terror charges was scheduled to take place on Monday, the t24 news website reported.

Seven journalists were released during the first hearing in July by an İstanbul court, which continued the pretrial detention of five others.

The charges brought against 17 Cumhuriyet employees in an April indictment accuse them of aiding the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) and the Gülen movement, which is accused by Turkish authorities of being behind a failed coup last year.

The court in July released Güray Öz, Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Hakan Kara, Önder Çelik, Turhan Günay and Mustafa Kemal Güngör and continued the pretrial detention of Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu, Kadri Gürsel, Ahmet Şık and Kemal Aydoğdu.

Arrest warrants for Cumhuriyet’s former Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar and journalist İlhan Tanır are still outstanding.

The suspects were arrested by the İstanbul 9th Penal Court of Peace on Nov. 5, 2016. Atalay was detained at İstanbul Atatürk Airport upon his return from Germany and subsequently arrested on Nov. 12, 2016.

Cumhuriyet reporter Şık was also detained on Dec. 22 and arrested on Dec. 30, 2016 on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda.

According to the International Press Institute (IPI) currently, a total of 171 journalists are imprisoned in Turkey due to their journalistic activities.

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