Turkey hands jail sentences to journalists | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 27, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 27, 2018

Turkey hands jail sentences to journalists

A Turkish court on Wednesday convicted journalists from the opposition Cumhuriyet daily for helping outlawed "terrorist" organisations but editors remained defiant vowing their "honourable" journalism would not stop.

Cumhuriyet -- which means simply "Republic" -- was set up in 1924 after the Turkish republic was founded in 1923.

The daily has been fiercely critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and has run front-page stories that have angered the Turkish head of state.

The court in Silivri, outside Istanbul, handed out multiple sentences to 13 journalists and executives for "aiding and abetting terror organisations without being a member" but they remain free pending appeal.

"No penalty can stop us from doing journalism. If needed, we will go to the prison again but we will continue to do journalism," editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu who was among those convicted told AFP after the verdict.

The judge ordered the release of Cumhuriyet chairman Akin Atalay who had been in jail for over 500 days despite his conviction.

Accountant Emre Iper was also convicted on the separate charge of making terror propaganda.

Three others including the paper's books supplement editor Turhan Gunay were acquitted.

They were all charged with supporting, through their coverage, three organisations that Turkey views as terror groups -- the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the ultra-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, and the Gulen movement blamed for the 2016 failed coup.

Supporters of the accused repeatedly said the charges against the journalists were absurd and that the trial was political.

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