Turkey: A dark day for press freedom in politically-motivated trial injustice

Following trial court’s decision to sentence Nazlı Ilıcak and Ahmet Altan to 10-and-a-half and 8 years and 9 months years in prison, on ludicrous charges of “knowingly and willingly assisting a terrorist organisation”, Sara Hall, Deputy Regional Director of Campaigns for Amnesty International, said:

“The convictions of Ahmet Altan and NazlıI lıcak are shocking and the sentences imposed on them are outrageous. Whilst it is a relief that they will be released on bail pending appeal, the fact that they have been convicted without a shred of evidence presented against them, is not justice.

“This is a yet another dark day for freedom of expression and for justice in Turkey which increases the country’s suffocating climate of fear.

“What should have been an opportunity to undo a wrong and dismiss this politically motivated prosecution, has only exposed the broken nature of Turkey’s justice system. More than a year after lifting the state of emergency and despite the promise of ‘reform’, Turkey’s judiciary remains in a downward spiral.”

Background

Nazlı Ilıcak and Ahmet Altan have been in pre-trial detention for over three years on bogus charges. They were initially charged with “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment. They are now being re-tried on terrorism charges following a decision by the Supreme Court of Appeals in July 2019.

Another defendant, Journalist and academic Mehmet Altan was acquitted and the judicial control measures imposed on him were lifted.

The three other defendants in the case, Fevzi Yazıcı, Yakup Şimşek and Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül, reportedly received lengthy prison terms for “membership in a terrorist organisation” and the court ruled for their continued detention in prison.

For more information or to arrange an interview Stefan Simanowitz press@amnesty.org