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Istanbul Court ruled to keep prominent Cumhuriyet journalists in jail: Press freedom


An Istanbul court today ordered the release of seven journalists and staff from Cumhuriyet Daily in the controversial trial but the ruling also ordered other prominent journalists and CEO should be kept in jail.

Among those kept in jail, Cumhuriyet Daily’s editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, CEO Akın Atalay, a prominent investigative reporter Ahmet Şık and columnist, also an IPI member Kadri Gürsel.

The seven, including cartoonist Musa Kart, will be released under judicial supervision, meaning they have to report to the authorities regularly ahead of the next hearing on September 11. Güray Tekin Öz, Turhan Günay, Bülent Utku, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Hakan Karasinir and Önder Çelik others who have been released.

The staff are charged with supporting in their coverage three groups that Turkey considers terror outfits — the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the ultra-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), and the movement of Fethullah Gulen, or as the Turkish Government calls it ”FETO” which Ankara accuses of ordering last year’s coup attempt.

The court also launched a new investigation against Ahmet Şık for his defence at the court. After heard he would be kept in jail, Şık reportedly said: ”Tyrants lacking honor should know until today I’ve only kneeled before my mother & father, will never kneel before anyone else.”

On Thursday, a day before the court convened to make interim ruling, the U.S. also urged Turkey that it expects the release of the journalists.

“We continue to urge the government of Turkey to respect and ensure freedom of expression, fair trial guarantees, judicial independence, other human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to also release the journalists and others who we believe are being held arbitrarily under the government’s state of emergency,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a daily press briefing.

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