Daily Cumhuriyet lawyers apply to Constitutional Court for jailed journalists, managers
AFP photoLawyers for daily Cumhuriyet have filed separate, individual applications to the Constitutional Court on behalf of 10 journalists and managers who have been under arrest on terror charges in Istanbul’s Silivri prison for 59 days, the daily reported on Dec. 28.
Arrested Author Aslı Erdoğan and lingiust Necmiye Alpay, meanwhile, will appear before judge for the first time.
Erdoğan and Alpay were arrested four months ago on terrorism charges for their contributions as consultants to Özgür Gündem, a daily now closed as part of the ongoing state of emergency.
The application noted that the arrest of Cumhuriyet journalists and managers violated personal security and personal freedom, freedom of thought and freedom of the press, as well as the Article 18 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which outlines the limitations on the use of restrictions on rights.
It stated there were no indications of powerful criminal suspicion and reasons for the arrest of the journalists regarding the decision.
“No journalist or writer can feel safe in the face of such mass arrests,” the lawyers’ application said, describing them as “an implementation with highly political motives that are far from being judicial.”
In terms of violation of rights, the lawyers said they were not provided the testimonies of the journalists.
It also added that there were no indications that the journalists were flight risks or that they could tamper with evidence.
The lawyers also said they would apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) unless the Constitutional Court gives a decision within the time frame provided by the ECHR.
Cumhuriyet journalists and managers, including the daily’s editor-in-chief, Murat Sabuncu, and CEO, Akın Atalay, as well as Turhan Günay, Kadri Gürsel, Önder Çelik, Musa Kart, Güray Öz, Bülent Utku, M. Kemal Güngör and Hakan Kara, were arrested after a major operation on Oct. 31 for their columns and news stories on charges of “acting on behalf of terror organizations without being a member.” The “terror” organizations referred to in the charges are the Gülen movement, believed to be behind the July 15 coup as well as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The daily’s tea maker, Şenol Buran, was also arrested on Dec. 25 for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by saying he would not serve the head of state any tea if given the hypothetical opportunity to do so.
Meanwhile, Mahir Kanaat, a daily BirGün employee, is also under arrest and has not met with his lawyers for days in accordance with the state of emergency regulations, the newspaper has reported.