Court decides to continue pretrial detention for jailed Zaman journalists

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An İstanbul court on Tuesday ruled for a continuation of the pretrial detention of 21 journalists, former employees of the Zaman newspaper, which was shut down by the government last year.

According to the decision of the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court during a hearing at the Silivri Prison compound, the journalists’ request to be released on their own recognizance was rejected, and the trial was adjourned until Dec. 8.

Former Zaman employees Mümtaz’er Türköne, Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç, Ahmet Metin Sekizkardeş, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Alaattin Güner, Cuma Kaya, Faruk Akkan, Hakan Taşdelen, Hüseyin Belli, Hüseyin Turan, İbrahim Karayeğen, İsmail Küçük, Mehmet Özdemir, Murat Avcıoğlu, Mustafa Ünal, Onur Kutlu, Sedat Yetişkin, Şeref Yılmaz, Yüksel Durgut and Zafer Özsoy have been in pretrial detention for 14 months as the judges repeatedly rejected challenges to their detention despite the fact that there was no reason to keep them in jail pending trial.

They appeared before the court on Monday and Tuesday after a pretrial detention of 414 days.

Former Zaman employees Ahmet İrem, Ali Hüseyinçelebi, Süleyman Sargın, Osman Nuri Arslan, Osman Nuri Öztürk, Lalezer Sarıibrahimoğlu, Nuriye Ural and Orhan Kemal Cengiz are also named as suspects in the indictment, but they are being tried without detention. Professor İhsan Duran Dağı, who used to work as a columnist for Zaman, is cited as a fugitive in the indictment.

Zaman journalists are facing “terrorism” and “coup-plotting” charges due to having worked and written for the Zaman daily, which was linked to the Gülen movement, which Turkish authorities accuse of being behind a failed coup last year.

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