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43 former TRT journalists face up to 15 years in jail on terrorism charges

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A public prosecutor has demanded a jail sentence of up to 15 years for 43 journalists formerly employed by the state-run Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) on terrorism charges, Turkish media reports said on Thursday.

The last hearing in the trial of the 43 journalists was held at the Ankara 22nd High Criminal Court on Thursday. During the hearing, the prosecutor announced his opinion and demanded a jail sentence of up to 15 years for the 43 journalists on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

Nine of the journalists are in pretrial detention, while the rest of them are free on bail. These journalists are among the dozens of journalists against whom legal action has been taken in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 on charges of terrorism.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom(SCF) show that 237 journalists and media workers were in jail as of Oct. 17, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 169 were under arrest pending trial while only 68 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 140 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

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