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The Cape Town Press Club appalled by life sentences without parole for Turkish journalists

Press Release: Cape Town Press Club

 

Friday 05 October 2018


This week, an Istanbul court of appeals upheld the life sentences without parole handed down to four journalists in February this year. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which regularly conducts prison censuses, Turkey remains the world’s leading jailer of journalists with 73 currently behind bars.

Four journalists – Nazlı Ilıcak, Fevzi Yazıcı and brothers Mehmet and Ahmet Altan – were convicted of having links with Fethullah Gülen, the US-based cleric accused of being behind the failed 2016 attempted coup.
The journalists deny the charges. They will now appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mehmet Altan is a television news show host and columnist with Can Erzincan TV and the newspaper, Özgür Düşünce. Both have been shut down by the authorities.  Ahmet Altan is a former chief editor for the newspaper, Taraf. It too has been closed down. A veteran journalist, Ilıcak also worked for Can Erzincan TV and Özgür Düşünce. Yazıcı is the former editor for the shuttered daily Zaman. All of the journalists except Mehmet Atlan are in custody.

The Cape Town Press Club maintains that the court of appeal’s decision demonstrates the extent to which the Turkish state will go to stifle criticism of the Erdogan regime. The coup was merely a pretext. According to Reuters, after the failed coup 20 journalists were detained and about 180 media outlets shut down. 

The Cape Town Press Club adds its voice to the calls made to the Turkish authorities not to contest the journalists’ appeal to the Supreme Court, and to end the persecution of journalists who have been targeted for merely doing their jobs.


Cape Town Press Club Committee