Visually impaired journalist Cüneyt Arat released from prison

Visually impaired Turkish journalist Cüneyt Arat.

Visually impaired Turkish journalist Cüneyt Arat, who was jailed in July 2017 over alleged links to the Gülen movement, was released pending appeal from Tarsus Prison on Thursday.

Arat tweeted on Friday that his release was delayed due to the negligence of his court-appointed lawyer, who failed to attend hearings or lodge an appeal against his sentencing.

He also complained that gendarmes left him near a hospital in the late hours of Thursday despite his request to be dropped off at a bus terminal since he was visually impaired. He wrote that they also refused to help him hail a taxi.

Arat was sentenced on Feb. 22, 2017 to six years, three months in prison. He was also given one year, 10 months and 15 days for promoting a “terrorist” organization.

Arat had earlier been arrested on July 21, 2016 for social media posts that allegedly praised the Gülen movement. The disabled journalist had been under house arrest wearing an electronic ankle bracelet.

The monthly benefit the Social Security Authority normally pays to the disabled was discontinued when he was jailed.

The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 183 journalists and media workers were in jail as of July 5, 2019. Of those in prison 87 were under arrest pending trial while 96 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.

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