Turkish court gives life sentences to 6 coup bid convicts - Anadolu Agency

Pauline Gross
February 18, 2018

Nazli Ilicak, another well-known journalist, was also among the sentenced.

A court in Istanbul on Friday sentenced six Turkish journalists to aggravated life imprisonment over their alleged involvement in a failed coup in July 2016, local media reported.

Reports say the convicts were accused of having links to a movement headed by exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, regarded by authorities to be behind the failed coup. Gulen, who is based in the United States, denies the accusation.

A court ruled Yucel should be set free pending a trial, after approving a prosecutor's indictment seeking up to 18 years in prison for the journalist.

These are the first journalists to be convicted for the coup attempt.

"These harsh sentences are an unacceptable and unprecedented assault on freedom of expression and on the media in Turkey", said David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and Harlem D├ęsir, the Representative on Media Freedom for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Life sentences imposed on six journalists today by a court in Turkey are an unparalleled attack on freedom of expression and on the media, two worldwide experts on media freedom have said in a joint statement.

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Their conviction came as another court in the same courthouse ordered German journalist Deniz Yucel - who has been detained in Turkey for a year - released from jail pending trial.

Mr Yucel, who has German and Turkish citizenship, was arrested in Istanbul on February 14 past year on terrorism and propaganda charges.

"This is a good day for all of us", he said in a statement.

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's foreign minister, welcomed Yucel's release.

"I am very pleased with this decision by the Turkish judiciary".

Gabriel thanked the Turkish government for expediting the case and said it "has always emphasised that it will not exert any political influence on the court's decision-making".

Other reports by GizPress

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