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Zaman journalist Kabakçı remains behind bars 16 months after incarceration

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An İstanbul high criminal court has ruled to continue the imprisonment of Şirin Kabakçı, who used to be Konya bureau chief for the Zaman daily, Turkey’s highest circulating newspaper before its takeover and closure by the Turkish government in 2016.

Kabakçı, who has been behind bars for 16 months, is one of the dozens of journalists who were arrested in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016 because they used to work for media outlets affiliated with the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding the abortive coup, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

According to tweets posted by @P24DavaTakip, which has been following the trials of journalists in Turkey, Kabakçı attended the most recent hearing of his trial at the İstanbul 35th High Criminal Court on Thursday through the IT Voice and Image System (SEGBİS) from Konya Prison, where he is being held in pretrial detention. The journalist is facing charges of terrorism.

Kabakçı’s lawyer, Cumali Aydemir, said his client was only involved in journalistic activities and that there is no witness testimony about Kabakçı’s involvement in any terrorist activity.

The lawyer asked for the release of his client.

In his defense, Kabakçı said during the time he worked in Konya he did nothing other than journalism.

“I request my release. I have been jailed for 16 months. My family lives in  Bartın [a northwestern Turkish province]. My three daughters need their father,” said the journalist.

The prosecutor in the trial asked for the continuation of Kabakçı’s imprisonment due to the lack of some files in his dossier.

The court ruled to keep Kabakçı behind bars.

The next hearing in the journalist’s trial is scheduled for Oct. 9.

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