Jailed journalist/novelist Ahmet Altan seen with daughter in first photo from Turkish prison

A photo of Ahmet Altan, a prominent Turkish novelist and newspaper editor who was sentenced by a Turkish court to aggravated life on February 16, 2018, with his daughter Sanem Altan during an open visit at Silivri Prison was shared on her personal Twitter account on Saturday.

The photo shows Ahmet Altan embracing his daughter Sanem. She tweeted: “Life passes, everyone passes, everything goes. All this passes. Only stories remain. Stories that are worth telling. Living life is to know this… This is also a story form Silivri [Prison]…”

Ahmet Altan, who was jailed in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, along with five others including his brother Mehmet Altan were handed down aggravated life sentences on charges of attempting to destroy the constitutional order in a development that attracted widespread criticism from human rights and press freedom organizations all around the world.

The Turkish government has charged Ahmet Altan with alleged involvement in the 2016 coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government.

The İstanbul 26th High Criminal Court, conducting trials in the Silivri Prison Complex, on February 16 handed down aggravated life sentences to Ahmet Altan; his brother Mehmet Altan, an economics professor and columnist; well-known writer and journalist Nazlı Ilıcak; two former employees of the now-closed Zaman newspaper, brand marketing manager Yakup Şimşek and art director Fevzi Yazıcı; and former Police Academy lecturer Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 238 journalists and media workers were in jail as of July 18, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 177 were under arrest pending trial while only 61 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 143 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

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