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Journalist Mehmet Altan released pending appeal by regional court

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The İstanbul Regional Court of Law’s 2nd Criminal Chamber on Wednesday ordered the release pending appeal of journalist Mehmet Altan after agreeing to consider an appeal of the decision of a local court, which had sentenced him along with five other defendants to aggravated life on charges of attempting to abolish the constitutional order, the T24 news website reported.

The chamber ruled to continue the detention of journalists Ahmet Altan, Nazlı Ilıcak, Fevzi Yazıcı and Yakup Şimşek and former police chief and TV pundit Tuğrul Özşengül.

The defendants will appear at an appeals hearing on Sept. 21 in the regional court.

The chamber referred to a Constitutional Court ruling in January to release journalists Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan, stressing that the order should be considered obligatory by all judicial institutions.

Alpay was released in March following a European Court of Human Rights ruling on an application filed by Alpay and Altan’s lawyers, alleging that Turkey had violated their freedom of expression.

Mehmet Altan has been under pre-trial detention since September 2016.

Another İstanbul court also today ordered a continuation of the detention of journalists Mehmet Baransu and Murat Şevki Çoban in a trial in which they stand accused of exposing state secrets by publishing a story on a National Security Council (MGK) order in 2004 in the Taraf daily, which was closed by a government decree after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Baransu and Çoban will have another hearing on Oct. 17.

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