March 31, 2017
NEW YORK - Courts in Istanbul and Antalya ordered the release pending trial of at least 25 journalists jailed in the aftermath of the July 2016 failed coup attempt in Turkey.
The journalists continue to face a variety of terrorism charges, are under a travel ban, and must regularly check in with police, according to CPJ research.
“We call on Turkish authorities to release all journalists imprisoned for their work and to drop all charges against them,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said.
“The unprecedented crackdown on the press has deprived Turkish citizens of independent coverage on subjects of vital public interest and has contributed to the rapid decline of democratic governance in the country.”
Among the 19 journalists, Istanbul’s 25th Court for Serious Crimes ordered released Friday was Abdullah KÄ±lÄ±ç, a former journalist with the newspaper Meydan, whose case is highlighted by CPJ’s #FreeThePress campaign this month.
Separately, a court in the Mediterranean city of Antalya ordered another six journalists also detained following the failed coup released Friday, according to media reports, and Istanbul’s 24th Court for Serious Crimes acquitted veteran journalist Hasan Cemal of terrorism charges, his employer reported.
At the time of CPJ’s most recent annual prison census, Turkey held at least 81 journalists in retaliation for their work, more than any other country at any given time since CPJ started keeping records in 1992. - Committee to Protect Journalists
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