Euro court sets Dec 5 as defense deadline for Turkey over jailed journalists

Euro court sets Dec 5 as defense deadline for Turkey over jailed journalists

Euro court sets Dec 5 as defense deadline for Turkey over jailed journalists

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has set Dec. 5 as the deadline for Turkey to submit its defense in cases against jailed journalists, after the country on Nov. 7 requested an extension for the deadline.

“The time-limit has been set at 5 December 2017 for the submission of the [Turkish] Government’s observations in reply to all of the third party submissions,” the ECHR said in its ruling released on Nov. 15.

“Turkey has already submitted its defense previously regarding the case, but once third parties such as the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks and various NGOs intervened in the case as third parties, the country was once again required to hand in another defense regarding the third parties’ own ‘observations,’” the ECHR said in its statement.

“On 7 November 2017, the [Turkish] Government requested an extension of four weeks of the time allowed for submission of their observations in reply to the third-party submissions of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council Europe. Having taken note of the reason advanced, the President of the Section decided to grant the extension,” it said.

“Noting that there were three different time limits for each of the third parties and in order to ensure the proper administration of justice,” the top court ruled to set Dec. 5 for Turkey to submit it defense regarding the observations of all third parties.

The case involves the defenses in rights violations cases filed by Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu as well as journalists Nazlı Ilıcak, Mehmet Altan, Ahmet Altan, Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç, and Murat Aksoy, and singer Atilla Taş.

While Aksoy and Taş are being tried without arrest after being released from jail on Oct. 26, the remaining eight journalists are under arrest.

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 also 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 outlets were detained on charges of being members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).