Cumhuriyet journalists’ lawyers appeal upcoming jail terms

The lawyers of eight former employees of the Cumhuriyet daily have appealed to an Istanbul court for the suspension of the execution of their sentences, the Hürriyet Daily News reported on Tuesday.

The appeal, filed on Monday, came after the sentences were uploaded on Turkey’s digital judicial platform, UYAP, which was interpreted by the newspaper in a report last week that the suspects would be sent to prison in a week, following the procedures at the prosecutor’s office.

The appeal names eight journalists and executives out of 14 who were sentenced to less than five years in prison for “aiding a terrorist group without membership in it.”

The remaining six have been sentenced to terms longer than five years, and their files are now being reviewed at the Supreme Court of Appeals.

According to Hürriyet, the appeal covers sentences handed down to cartoonist Musa Kart, columnist Kadri Gürsel, ombudsman Güray Öz, journalist Hakan Kara, Cumhuriyet Foundation member Önder Çelik, accountant Emre İper and lawyers Bülent Utku and Mustafa Kemal Güngör.

The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 185 journalists and media workers were in jail as of April 22, 2019, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 95 were under arrest pending trial while 90 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 167 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

The government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after  a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.


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