Istanbul court hands jail terms to former Zaman journalists
An Istanbul court has sentenced six former journalists to prison sentences on charges of being members of a terror organization, while acquitting five others of all charges.
The Istanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court on July 6 handed jail terms of 10.5 years to columnist Mümtazer Türköne and Ankara bureau chief, Mustafa Önal, on charges of being a member of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), the group Ankara says is behind the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016.
Columnists Şahin Alpay, Ali Bulaç and Ahmet Turan Alkan were sentenced to eight years and nine months on the same charge, while the court ordered for Alkan to be released pending trial.
İhsan Dağı, Lale Sarıibrahimoğlu, Nuriye Ural Akman and Orhan Kemal Cengiz were acquitted of all charges, while all 11 defendants were acquitted of “attempting to overthrow the constitution order” charges.
The journalists had denied charges posed against them.
The media professionals were arrested shortly after the coup and charged with violating the Turkish constitution, membership in a terror organization and other crimes.
The now-defunct daily Zaman was closed down by the Turkish state in May 2016 after being taken over.
On March 16, an Istanbul court ordered the conditional release of Alpay, while ruling that he must remain in his house and is forbidden from leaving Turkey.
On March 20, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the right to liberty and the right freedom of expression of Şahin Alpay had been violated.
Turkish authorities have detained and formally charged 77,000 people suspected of links to the failed coup, the interior minister said in March.
They have also shut down about 130 media outlets in the post-coup crackdown.