Turkey’s top court rules for second time that rights of arrested journalist Şahin Alpay were violated
Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled unanimously on March 16 for a second time that the rights of arrested journalist Şahin Alpay have been violated, raising the prospect that he may be released from prison.
“Abstaining from implementing the ruling of the Constitutional Court violates [Alpay’s] personal liberty and security and right to fair trial,” said the ruling, referring to the related articles of the constitution.
“The rulings of the Constitutional Court are legally binding” it added, ordering the Turkish state to pay Alpay 20,000 Turkish Liras in indemnification.
The decision came upon an application by Alpay’s lawyers after a local court refused to release him despite an earlier Constitutional Court ruling on Jan. 11 that his rights had been violated.
The Constitutional Court ruled at the time that Alpay, along with fellow jailed journalist Mehmet Altan, should be released as their rights had been violated.
However, local courts refused to release them, arguing that the top court’s ruling was not binding.
On March 6, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the Constitutional Court’s rulings are binding for everyone and they should be obeyed.
“From time to time we have criticized the decisions of our courts, our high judicial institutions and our Constitutional Court. We will continue to do that. But we have never ignored these decisions. We have never hesitated to fulfill their requirements,” Erdoğan said.
Both Altan and Alpay have been in prison for more than a year and were jailed in the aftermath of the 2016 coup attempt.
They are accused of “links to terrorist groups” and “attempting to overthrow the government,” charges they have denied.
The Constitutional Court is expected to announce a decision regarding the new application made by Mehmet Altan’s lawyers sometime soon.