Former Cumhuriyet journalists’ lawyers appeal upcoming jail terms
The lawyers of eight former employees of daily Cumhuriyet, including journalists and executives, have appealed to an Istanbul court for the suspension of the execution of their jail terms.
The appeal filed on April 22 came after the sentences were uploaded on Turkey’s digital judicial platform, UYAP, which was interpreted by the newspaper in a report on April 19 that the suspects would be sent to prison in one week following the procedures at the prosecutor’s office.
The appeal is for eight journalists and executives out of 14 who were sentenced to less than five years in prison for “aiding a terrorist group without being a member of it.”
The remaining six are sentenced to terms longer than five years and their files are now being reviewed at the Court of Cassation.
“The evidence in the cases consists of just the news reports, headlines and a few columns. Sentences ruled for the journalists have been distanced from a lowest limit due to anger against journalism and true news making,” said Cumhuriyet lawyer Tora Pekin during a press briefing with his colleagues in Istanbul on April 22.
The appeal covers sentences handed down to cartoonist Musa Kart, columnist Kadri Gürsel, readership representative Güray Öz, journalist Hakan Kara, Cumhuriyet Foundation member Önder Çelik, accountant Emre İper and lawyers Bülent Utku and Mustafa Kemal Güngör.
“There are some people who think that today’s politicians lack a sense of humor. We shouldn’t be unfair. What is a trial without hearing or defense if it is not a joke,” Kart ironically said at the press briefing.
The remaining six suspects who face jail terms of more than five years included Cumhuriyet’s former executive board chair Akın Atalay, former editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, journalist Ahmet Şık, columinsts Aydın Engin and Hikmet Çetinkaya and Cumhuriyet Foundation chair Orhan Erinç.
Their sentences were upheld by an appeals court, taking the judicial process to the Court of Cassation.