Euro court prolongs Turkey’s defense deadline on Cumhuriyet trial
The European Council of Human Rights (ECHR) has prolonged the deadline it has given to Turkey regarding its submission of a defense in the cases against jailed daily Cumhuriyet journalists, inviting the country to submit a written defense by Nov. 7 this time, Cumhuriyet reported on Oct. 24.
The move came after the Turkish government asked the ECHR to extend the Oct. 24 deadline on grounds that “the information and documents forming the base of arguments are too much contextually.” The ECHR consented to the Turkish Ministry’s demand but said it would not once again “allow for another extension demand,” as it has already extended previous deadlines a couple times before, Cumhuriyet said.
The ECHR had demanded Turkey’s defense in the case first in June, asking officials to submit their report until Oct. 2. The deadline had already been prolonged to Oct. 24 upon Turkish authorities’ request.
The ECHR previously also gave details about the Cumhuriyet staff’s application made on March 2, saying it was made based on the right to liberty and security, right to a speedy review of the lawfulness of the detention, freedom of expression and limitations on the use of restrictions on rights.
According to the ECHR, the journalists and executives complained about their pre-trial detention and its duration, and also claimed that there had been a breach of their freedom of expression.
They further said their detention was a sanction against them for criticizing the government and amounted to politically motivated judicial harassment.
In the wake of the July 15, 2016, coup attempt, the employees of many publications and media organs were detained on charges of being members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Some 20 executives and journalists from the critical Turkish newspaper are being tried on several charges, including “membership in an armed terrorist organization” and “helping an armed terrorist organization while not being a member of it.”
The fourth hearing in the case will take place on Oct. 31.