Former Zaman columnist sentenced to 50 months in jail for threatening Erdoğan

An İstanbul court on Tuesday handed down a prison sentence of four years, two months to former Zaman daily columnist Mümtaz’er Türköne on charges that he threatened Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in one of his articles.

The decision for conviction was made by the Bakırköy 2nd High Criminal Court.

In his defense, Türköne denied having threatened Erdoğan and demanded his acquittal.

Türköne is one of dozens of journalists who were jailed in the aftermath of a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 on coup charges.

The Zaman daily was closed down by the government following the failed coup due to its links to the faith-based Gülen movement.

The government accuses the movement of masterminding the coup attempt, although the movement denies any involvement in the putsch.

Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 263 journalists are now in jails as of June 24, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 239 are arrested pending trial, only 24 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 105 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. (SCF with July 4, 2017

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