Turkey’s top appeals court overturns sentences of 7 Cumhuriyet journalists

Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals has overturned the prison sentences handed down to seven former Cumhuriyet employees and ordered the release of five of them who have been serving time, Turkish media reported on Thursday.

Former Cumhuriyet employees Musa Kart, Güray Öz, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Hakan Kara and Önder Çelik were expected to be released Thursday evening at 9 p.m. local time, a reporter tweeted.

Two of the seven – Kadri Gürsel and Bülent Utku – were not behind bars as Gürsel was were released on probation in May and Utku had not turned himself in to authorities to serve his sentence as the other six had.

The court ruled to uphold the sentence of Emre İper, who will remain behind bars.

The Cumhuriyet trial involved a total of 18 defendants, journalists and media staff who faced terrorism-related charges due to the paper’s publications, some of whom started to serve prison sentences on April 25 of this year.

A press freedom report by the Council of Europe recently qualified Turkey as the world’s largest jailer of journalists.

The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 182 journalists and media workers were in jail as of August 15, 2019. Of those in prison 85 were under arrest pending trial, while 97 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. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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