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Rights court grants Turkey extension for response in detained journalists’ case

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has granted a third extension to Turkey to submit its observations in the cases of a number of detained Turkish journalists who have petitioned the court for priority in the consideration of their applications.

The new deadline for a response from Turkey is now set at Dec. 5, 2017.

The Turkish government had twice, on various dates in October, requested extension of the time limit for submission of their observations as to the admissibility and merits of the cases before the court.

The applications involve journalists and executives for the Cumhuriyet daily, including Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, who were arrested last year on charges of membership in an armed terrorist organization and aiding an armed terrorist organization without being a member of it.

In a statement earlier this year the court said the journalists challenged the relevant detention orders before Penal Courts of Peace in Turkey and had applied unsuccessfully for their release. They also filed petitions with the Constitutional Court, to no avail.

The court also said the application made on March 2 by the Cumhuriyet staff was based on the right to liberty and security, the right to a speedy review of the lawfulness of their detention, freedom of expression and limitations on the exercise of individual rights. 

According to the ECtHR the journalists and executives complained about their pretrial detention and its duration and also claimed that there had been a violation of the right to freedom of expression.

They further alleged that their detention was retribution for criticizing the government and amounted to politically motivated judicial harassment.

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