Turkey’s Constitutional Court will on Thursday review the petitions of 10 journalists who were jailed in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on coup or terrorism charges, according to the Expression Interrupted website.
The court will examine petitions from journalists including Murat Sabuncu, Akın Atalay, Kadri Gürsel, Önder Çelik, Ahmet Altan, Nazlı Ilıcak, Murat Aksoy and Ahmet Şık at a full session.
The court will be reviewing the applications, which claim that the pre-trial detention of the journalists was unlawful and amounted to violations of the “right to personal liberty and security” and “freedom of expression and the press.”
Journalist-novelist Ahmet Altan was arrested on Sept. 10, 2016 as part of an investigation into the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The individual application lodged on behalf of Ahmet Altan on Nov. 8, 2016 is to be taken up by the full court 10 months after it was heard by the First Section of the Constitutional Court on July 4, 2018. The First Section then referred the application to the full court.
Also pending since 2016 is the application of Nazlı Ilıcak, who completed her 1,000th day in jail this past weekend. Ilıcak was one of the co-defendants in a “coup” case, along with Ahmet Altan and his brother, economics professor Mehmet Altan. Ilıcak, the Altan brothers and three other co-defendants were given aggravated life sentences for “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” in February 2018. An appeals court upheld the convictions in September 2018. The case is now before the Supreme Court of Appeals.
The other cases the court has yet to address two years after they were lodged are the applications of Murat Sabuncu, Akın Atalay, Kadri Gürsel, Ahmet Şık and Önder Çelik, all of whom have been tried and sentenced in the Cumhuriyet case. In February 2019, an appellate court upheld the court verdict that sentenced Çelik to three years, nine months and Gürsel to two-and-a-half years on terrorism-related charges. On April 26, 2019 Çelik, along with five other co-defendants who were given less than five years in jail returned to prison as their verdict became final when upheld by the appellate court.
Gürsel, on the other hand, has not returned to prison due to the amount of time he already spent in pre-trial detention.
The case file of Atalay, who was sentenced to eight years, one month and 15 days, and those of Sabuncu and Şık, both sentenced to seven years, six months, were referred to the Supreme Court of Appeals. Journalist Murat Aksoy was sentenced to two years, one month in prison on terrorism charges.
After his sentence was upheld by an appellate court, Aksoy returned to prison on Nov. 22, 2018, and on Jan. 4, 2019 he was released under judicial supervision.