Turkey’s top court says no violation of rights during prosecution of jailed journalists Altan, Ilıcak

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Veteran journalists Ahmet Altan (L) and Nazlı Ilıcak.

Turkey’s Constitutional Court on Friday said there was no violation of the right to freedom and security during the prosecution of prominent journalists Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak, who have been behind bars for more than two years, Turkish media outlets reported.

The court, however, ruled that a violation of rights had occurred in the prosecution of journalist Ali Bulaç, who was among the dozens of journalists arrested in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, and released from jail in May 2018.

Both Ahmet Altan and his brother Mehmet Altan, an economics professor and journalist, who were detained on Sept. 10, 2016, were accused of sending “subliminal” messages regarding the failed coup on a TV show a day before the putsch.

The Altan brothers are prominent journalists who have been unequivocally critical of the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In February 2018 a Turkish court handed down aggravated life sentences to the Altan brothers, prominent journalist Nazlı Ilıcak and three other defendants on charges of attempting to destroy the constitutional order.

The 75-year-old veteran journalist Ilıcak was arrested on July 30, 2016.

Mehmet Altan was released from court in June 2018 after an İstanbul court agreed to consider an appeal of the decision of a local court based on a Constitutional Court ruling in January 2018 which ruled that Mehmet Altan and another jailed journalist at the time, Şahin Alpay, be released from jail.

In a similar development on Thursday, the top court ruled that the rights to freedom and security of journalists Murat Aksoy and Kadri Gürsel were violated by a Turkish court during their prosecution, while it also ruled that there was no violation in the cases of journalists Ahmet Şık, Murat Sabuncu, Bülent Utku and Akın Atalay.

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