Istanbul court rejects release demand of daily Cumhuriyet journalists, staff
AFP photoAn Istanbul court late on Sept. 11 ordered the continuation of arrest for journalists and executives from daily Cumhuriyet, including editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu and journalists Ahmet Şık and Kadri Gürsel, who are being tried on terror charges.
In its interlocutory ruling during the sixth hearing of the case, the court stated that arrested Cumhuriyet staff members Sabuncu, Şık, Gürsel, Akın Atalay and Yusuf Emre İper should remain under arrest until more evidence was presented.
The decision on Gürsel was taken with a majority of judges’ votes, while the ruling for the other five arrested journalists was taken unanimously. One of the judges had expressed his opinion in favor of the release of Gürsel.
“The court has decided to keep them arrested until more witnesses are heard,” chief judge Abdurrahman Orkun Dağ said after a 13-hour session at the court near Istanbul’s Silivri Prison.
“After hearing the witnesses we think a more healthy decision will be able to be reached,” Dağ added.
The court later adjourned the case, which will have its next hearing at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse on Sept. 25.
In the Sept. 11 hearing, the defendants in the case once again rejected accusations, which included “being a member of terror organization” and of having links to the Gülen network, widely believed to have masterminded last year’s failed coup attempt. The court also asked witnesses questions about the operation of the daily, news reports, personnel employment and the impact of the Cumhuriyet Association.
The prosecutor had demanded that the defendants continue to be remanded in custody, claiming that the provisions of a judicial control decision would be insufficient.