Turkey Continues Detention of 2 Journalists despite Court Order for their Release

Turkey Continues Detention of 2 Journalists despite Court Order for their Release

Friday, 12 January, 2018 - 12:15
Entrance of the Silivri prison complex is pictured near Istanbul, Turkey January 11, 2018. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Two Turkish courts ruled on Friday for the ongoing detention of two journalists, hours after the Constitutional Court had called for their release.

The court on Thursday ruled in favor of releasing the two journalists, jailed for more than year over the July 2016 attempted coup, but hours later penal courts decided to keep them in detention, state media said.

Journalists Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay were accused of links to terrorist groups and attempting to overthrow the government and were among more than 50,000 people remanded in custody after the failed putsch. They deny the charges.

Separate penal courts decided to reject the Constitutional Court ruling that they should be freed.

Sezgin Tanrikulu, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said on Twitter that the penal courts’ refusal to release the two was not legal and that they were being falsely imprisoned.

According to court records, the Constitutional Court had earlier said: “It was decided ... by a majority of votes that their freedom of expression and (the freedom of) press, protected under ... the constitution, were violated”.

Altan is a professor of economics and frequent commentator in liberal Turkish media. Alpay is a columnist.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday the case of two journalists would be decided by a local court.

"Whether we like the Constitutional Court's ruling or not, the authority that will make the right call is the first instance court," Binali Yildirim told reporters.

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