Former staff of Cumhuriyet newspaper sent back to prison
A total of 14 Cumhuriyet staffers were sentenced last April to jail terms as great as eight years and one month on charges of “aiding and abetting terror groups without being a member.” They all have denied the charges against them.
All 14 defendants, some of whom were in prison for the duration of the trial, had been released while their appeals were pending in court. In February, another court rejected their appeals.
Eight were sentenced to less than five-year prison terms. The other six, who were sentenced to more than five years in prison, can still appeal the verdicts to Turkey’s Court of Cassation.
Out of the eight sentenced to less than five-year terms, cartoonist Musa Kart, readership representative Güray Öz, journalist Hakan Kara, Cumhuriyet Foundation member Önder Çelik, accountant Emre İper and lawyer Mustafa Kemal Güngör have been returned to Kandıra prison to serve the rest of their sentences. Kandıra is in the northwestern city of Kocaeli nearly 150 kilometers from Istanbul.
Two other employees, columnist Kadri Gürsel and lawyer Bülent Utku, were also sentenced to less than five years but will remain free due to the time they served during the trial.
Tora Pekin, a lawyer for the defendants, said during a news conference on April 22 that the appeals court did not grant their request for a hearing before deciding to uphold the sentences.
Abbas Yalçın, another lawyer, said the defendants had requested that the sentences be suspended and were waiting for the request to be evaluated by the court.