An Istanbul court has sentenced journalist Ahmet Altan, who was recently convicted to life in jail, to five years and 11 months in prison on charges of “making propaganda for a terror organization” and “insulting the president,” in a separate case on Feb. 28.
Attending the hearing via a video conference system, Altan said he was free to pick the subjects of his articles and all expressions he uses as an author.
“You are trying me for saying that 13 or 14-year-old Kurdish children who clashed with soldiers in the Sur district [of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır] are children. I won’t ask you what I should call them,” he added.
Altan, along with his brother Mehmet Altan and four others, were handed aggravated life sentences on Feb. 16 for links to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, described by prosecutors as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and widely believed to have been behind the 2016 coup attempt.
At the hearing on Feb. 28, Altan noted that he was sentenced 12 days ago for “being a follower of sharia, a coup plotter. And now you want to jail me as a Marxist terrorist for the same article.”
The Istanbul court ruled that in an article published on Haberdar news website Altan portrayed violent acts in the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır Şırnak and Mardin, as “innocent acts,” sentencing him to three years in jail for “making propaganda for a terror organization.”
The court also found him guilty of “insulting the president” in the same article, ruling for him to be given another two years and 11 months in jail.