Turkish court sentences six journalists to life, including Altan brothers
February 16 2018 07:29 PM
CEO of Axel Springer SE Mathias Doepfner gives a statement after the release of German-Turkish journ
CEO of Axel Springer SE Mathias Doepfner gives a statement after the release of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel in the newsroom of Die Welt in Berlin, Germany.

Reuters/Ankara

A Turkish court on Friday sentenced six journalists, including two prominent brothers, to life in jail for aiding plotters of a 2016 failed coup, state media said, a sharp turnaround after the country's highest court ordered one of the men released.

Mehmet Altan, an economics professor and journalist, and his brother Ahmet, also a journalist, were accused of giving coded messages on a television talk show a day before the abortive military putsch. Nazli Ilicak, another well-known journalist, was also among the sentenced. All six have denied the charges.
Court officials were not immediately available to confirm the report from TRT Haber, a state-owned broadcaster. At least three of the men have already been in prison for about 17 months.
The constitutional court, Turkey's highest, had previously ruled for Mehmet Altan's release, saying that his detention amounted to the violation of his rights. However, the penal court rejected the request and decided to keep him in jail as his trial continued.
The sentencing came on the same day that another Turkish court ordered the release of Deniz Yucel, a German-Turkish journalist who spent just over a year in pre-trial detention without an indictment, in a case that tested relations between Ankara and Berlin.

Coded messages

Ahmet Altan was charged after he said on a TV show: "Whatever the developments were that lead to military coups in Turkey, by making the same decisions, Erdogan is paving the same path".
On the same programme, Mehmet Altan referred to "another structure" within the government that was closely watching the developments to "take its hand out of the bag".
Prosecutors said that the comments were coded messages to followers of the cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for orchestrating the coup.
The lawyer for the Altan brothers said they would appeal against the verdict.

Last updated: February 16 2018 07:33 PM


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