Jailed journalist Ünal: Indictment has lost validity as prosecutor suspended

Mustafa Ünal (51), a jailed veteran journalist and former Ankara bureau chief for the now-closed Zaman daily, has said since the prosecutor who indicted him has been suspended from his job on charges of links to a crime organization, the indictment against him has lost its validity and the case must be dropped, the Tr724 news website reported on Thursday.

Ünal, who was arrested after a military coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, was handed down a jail sentence of 10 years, six months by an İstanbul high criminal court in July 2018 on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

The Zaman daily, which was Turkey’s best-selling newspaper, was closed down along with dozens of other media outlets by the Erdoğan government following the controversial coup attempt.

Ünal sent a letter from Silivri Prison, where he is incarcerated, that was shared on Twitter by his son. In his letter Ünal says: “Can an indictment be taken seriously when it was written by a prosecutor whose links to a gang, fraud and establishment of a crime organization were found out by the HSK [Council of Judges and Prosecutors]? Can someone who takes it seriously be called a jurist? The case [against me] lacked any judicial grounds. It had already collapsed and now must be dropped. Since a trial cannot take place without an indictment, the proceedings and ruling [against me] are null and void. I should immediately be given back my freedom.” (turkishminute.com)

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