Courts reject jailed journalists’ request

NKARA – Turkish penal courts decided to keep two jailed journalists in detention, state-run news agency Anadolu said on Thursday, hours after a top court had requested they be released because their rights had been violated while in custody.

Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay, jailed for more than year amid large-scale purges of the media and state institutions after a failed 2016 coup, were accused of links to terrorist groups and attempting to overthrow the government, charges they deny.

Separate penal courts decided to reject the Constitutional Court ruling that they should be freed.

Sezgin Tanrikulu, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said on Twitter that the penal courts’ refusal to release the two was not legal and that they were being falsely imprisoned.

According to court records, the Constitutional Court had earlier said: “It was decided … by a majority of votes that their freedom of expression and (the freedom of) press, protected under … the constitution, were violated”.

Altan is a professor of economics and frequent commentator in liberal Turkish media. Alpay is a columnist.

The two men, along with a third journalist, Turhan Gunay, had argued that their arrests were illegal and that their rights and freedoms had been violated during pre-trial detention.

Eleven of the court’s judges ruled in their favour and six against, the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.

Officials from the various courts were not immediately available for comment.

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