Cumhuriyet trial interim court decision shows urgency to drop charges and release all imprisoned Turkish journalists, says OSCE Media Freedom Representative

30-07-2017, 14:09 | Comments: 0
Cumhuriyet trial interim court decision shows urgency to drop charges and release all imprisoned Turkish journalists, says OSCE Media Freedom RepresentativeOSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir reiterated his call to Turkish authorities today to drop charges and release all journalists in prison in the country, following yesterday's interim court decision in the Cumhuriyet trial.

"The release of seven Cumhuriyet journalists and executives is an important step," the Representative said, "but the fact that many of the journalists were returned to jail and are still facing serious criminal charges, is indicative of the critical state of media freedom in Turkey."

On 28 July, the Istanbul 27th Heavy Criminal Court ruled that Önder Çelik, Turhan Günay, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Hakan Kara, Musa Kart, Güray Öz and Bülent Utku be released under judicial supervision pending trial while Akın Atalay, Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu, Kadri Gürsel, Murat Sabuncu and Ahmet Şık were returned to jail. The court also decided that additional criminal charges would be brought against Ahmet Şık for his defense statement. The trial will continue on 11 September and conclude by the end of the year, according to the court’s decision.

Désir noted that the first hearing failed to produce any evidence of the crimes the journalists are accused of. "All journalists must be released without further abitrary detention," Désir said. "Given the prospect of unprecedented punishment, and the chilling effect that this trial has had, not only on the journalists but on freedom of expression in the entire society, transparency on all aspects of the case remains paramount," he said.

osce.org

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