Turkish court sentences Cumhuriyet reporters to prison on terrorism charges

After the prosecution demanded a 43-year sentence, the court handed down ones ranging from 2 to 10 years. The reporters lawyer claims the case is politically motivated.
Erdogan supporters hold a night-time demonstration after the failed coup. 22 July, 2016 Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Mstyslav Chernov

A Turkish court handed down prison sentences ranging from 2 ½ to 7 ½ years to reporters in Turkey’s opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper. As international organizations raised concerns about the due process being given to opposition journalists, the court sentenced fourteen journalists and acquitted three from terrorism charges, according to their lawyer. The prosecution had alleged that they were connected to cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish government holds responsible for the failed coup in 2016.

Cumhuriyet is one of the few opposition newspapers remaining in Turkey after a widespread crackdown on journalists happened in the aftermath of the 2016 coup attempt. The prosecution’s original request was for a 43-year prison sentence, connecting the newspaper to the Gulen network through a variety of social media posted that allegedly indicated the support of the newspaper.

Other journalists from the newspaper, who had previously leaked information regarding Turkey’s role in Syria’s civil war, have also been targeted by authorities, and the Turkish government’s crackdown on journalists resulted in a German reporter’s arrest in May of last year. So far, the reporter’s lawyer has rejected the case as being politically motivated.



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