Wife of Şahin Alpay, a veteran journalist persecuted by Turkish gov’t, dies of cerebral hemorrhage

Fatma Alpay, the wife of veteran Turkish journalist Şahin Alpay, died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Saturday morning.

She will be laid to rest in the Ayvalık district of Turkey’s Balıkesir province on Tuesday.

Şahin Alpay, a veteran journalist and columnist for the now-closed Zaman and Today’s Zaman dailies, was jailed in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, over his alleged links to the Gülen movement and on allegations of “attempting to overthrow the government.”

On May 17, the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court ruled for Alpay’s house arrest, judicial probation and an international travel ban. The decision came upon an application by Alpay’s lawyers after an İstanbul high criminal court had refused to release him despite an earlier Constitutional Court ruling on Jan. 11, 2018 that his right to freedom and security as well as to freedom of expression had been violated.

He was eventually sentenced to eight years, nine months in prison on July 6, 2018.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 237 journalists and media workers were in jail as of Oct. 7, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 169 were under arrest pending trial while only 68 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 148 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 more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

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