21 November 2010:
Court refuses to follow Supreme Court ruling in Cumhuriyet retrial
Thirteen former columnists and executives of Cumhuriyet daily appeared once again before the 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul on 21 November 2019 for the retrial of their case.
The retrial followed on the heels of a Supreme Court of Appeals ruling in September 2019, which overturned the majority of the convictions in the original trial and ruled that Akın Atalay, Orhan Erinç, Murat Sabuncu, Aydın Engin and Hikmet Çetinkaya should be acquitted and that Ahmet Şık should instead be charged with “terrorism propaganda” and “denigrating the bodies and organs of the state of the Turkish Republic.” The high court had also ruled for a stay of execution concerning the defendants who were sentenced to prison terms less than five years, which, before the recent Judicial Reform Package, could not be appealed further once they were upheld by an appellate court.
P24 monitored the retrial, which was also observed by representatives from Article 19, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Human Rights Watch, DİSK Basın İş, the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC), and other rights groups and press freedom organizations.
Cumhuriyet’s former Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, columnists Aydın Engin, Hikmet Çetinkaya, Kadri Gürsel, Hakan Kara, investigative reporter Ahmet Şık, cartoonist Musa Kart, ombudsman Güray Öz, former Cumhuriyet Foundation executives Orhan Erinç, Akın Atalay, Bülent Utku, Mustafa Kemal Güngör and Önder Çelik were present in the courtroom for the hearing. They were accompanied by their lawyers.
Early in the hearing, the prosecutor presented his opinion, asking the court to rule against the Supreme Court of Appeals judgment and insist on its earlier verdict in the original trial, which concluded in April 2018.
The court had convicted 15 of the 20 defendants in the case of terrorism-related charges at the end of the original trial. Thirteen former Cumhuriyet executives and journalists were convicted of “aiding a terrorist group without being its member”; Emre İper, an accounting department employee, was convicted of “terrrorism propaganda”; Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu, who is not a Cumhuriyet staffer, but is purported to be the user of the Twitter account “JeansBiri,” was convicted of “leading a terrorist organization.” Bülent Yener, Günseli Özaltay and Turhan Günay were acquitted of all charges while the files of journalists Can Dündar and İlhan Tanır were separated.
Addressing the court following the prosecutor, all 13 defendants and their lawyers requested the court to abide by the Supreme Court of Appeals ruling.
Court hears last words before announcing its decision regarding Supreme Court ruling
After hearing the defense statements, the presiding judge asked the defendants for their last words before the panel’s verdict. Defendants and defense lawyers objected to the court, saying this was against the Criminal Procedure Code and that the panel should declare its decision on whether to comply with the higher court’s ruling first.
Following a brief recess for deliberation, the panel ruled to proceed with hearing the last words of the defendants before the announcement of the verdict along with their decision on whether to comply with the Supreme Court of Appeals ruling. The panel cited “criminal procedure economics” and “the principle of judicial independence” as the grounds for their decision.
Defense lawyers objected to the decision, demanding the recusal of the panel for bias. The court rejected the request, saying it was “aimed at prolonging the proceedings.”
In their last words, all defendants asked the court once again to abide by the higher court’s ruling and requested to be acquitted.
One defendant acquitted, 12 convicted
Announcing its verdict at the end of the hearing, the 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul ruled partially in line with the prosecutor’s opinion.
In its unanimous ruling, the court acquitted Kadri Gürsel but ruled against the Supreme Court of Appeals judgment concerning the rest of the defendants: Akın Atalay, Ahmet Şık, Aydın Engin, Bülent Utku, Güray Öz, Hakan Kara, Musa Kart, Hikmet Çetinkaya, Murat Sabuncu, Orhan Erinç, Mustafa Kemal Güngör and Önder Çelik.
The court convicted all 12 of the charge in the original trial — “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” — and ruled for the continuation of the judicial control measures imposed on the defendants.
The original trial
Cumhuriyet newspaper executives and columnists were taken into custody on 31 October 2016 on the allegation of “aiding the PKK/KCK and FETÖ/PDY terrorist groups.” On 5 November 2016, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, columnist Kadri Gürsel, cartoonist Musa Kart, executives and columnists Önder Çelik, Bülent Utku, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Güray Öz, Hakan Kara and Turhan Günay were jailed pending trial. Akın Atalay, who was abroad during the operation, was arrested upon his arrival in Istanbul on 11 November 2016 and jailed pending trial the next day. Investigative reporter Ahmet Şık was jailed pending trial on 30 December 2016. The indictment issued on 4 April 2017 held 106 news reports and 149 tweet messages as evidence against the defendants.
At the end of the trial, the court convicted 14 columnists and executives of Cumhuriyet daily as well as the only defendant in the case who is not a media worker of terrorism-related charges. Three former Cumhuriyet staffers were acquitted and the files of two defendants at large were separated.
In February 2019, the 3rd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice, an appellate court, rejected the appeals against the convictions, saying it had not found “any substantial or procedural violations” in the ruling or any “shortcomings in the evidence or proceedings.” The appellate court’s ruling finalized the prison sentences for eight defendants (Utku, Gürsel, Öz, Çelik, Kart, Kara, Güngör and İper), who were sentenced to prison terms less than five years.
The Constitutional Court took up the individual applications of the defendants in May, ruling that Kadri Gürsel’s “right to liberty and security had been violated” while rejecting the applications of Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu, Ahmet Şık, Önder Çelik, Güray Öz, Musa Kart, Hakan Kara, Mustafa Kemal Güngör and Bülent Utku.
On 12 September 2019, the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the convictions against Atalay, Erinç, Sabuncu, Engin, Çetinkaya and Şık. Separately, the Chamber ruled for a stay of execution concerning Gürsel, Çelik, Utku, Öz, Kart, Kara and Güngör and remitted the case file to the trial court. The high court upheld the convictions against İper and Aydoğdu and the acquittals of Bülent Yener, Günseli Özaltay and Turhan Günay.
Supreme Court overturns convictions in Cumhuriyet trial
Supreme Court of Appeals also rules for Önder Çelik, Güray Öz, Musa Kart, Hakan Kara and Mustafa Kemal Güngör to be freed from prison
The Chamber overturned the convictions against Akın Atalay, Orhan Erinç, Murat Sabuncu, Aydın Engin, Hikmet Çetinkaya and Ahmet Şık. The Chamber also ruled for a stay of execution concerning Önder Çelik, Bülent Utku, Güray Öz, Musa Kart, Hakan Kara and Mustafa Kemal Güngör. who were sentenced to less than five years in prison on the same charge and who returned to prison in April to serve the remainder of their sentences after their convictions were upheld in February by an appellate court. The Chamber ruled for the five imprisoned defendants to be released so as to prevent what might in the future entail a rights violation. The Chamber also ruled to lift the arrest warrant issued for Bülent Utku.
In accordance with the ruling, Çelik, Öz, Kart, Kara and Güngör were released from the Kandıra F Type Prison in the Kocaeli province late at night on 12 September 2019.
On 16 July 2019, the Office of the General Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals had requested the reversal of the convictions against Orhan Erinç, Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu, Hikmet Çetinkaya, Aydın Engin and Ahmet Şık and the acquittal of all defendants except Şık. The Office of the General Prosecutor also said in their judicial opinion that the acquittal decision should apply to all other co-defendants in the case who were sentenced to less than five years in jail, except Emre İper.
The 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals ruled in line with the judicial opinion by the General Prosecutor, overturning former Cumhuriyet staffers’ convictions on the charge of “aiding a terrorist organization.”
The Chamber said that the elements of the “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” charge were not present in the cases and all should be acquitted except for Ahmet Şık, who was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison on the same charge. The Chamber ruled that Şık should instead be charged with “legitimizing the acts of a terrorist group” and “denigrating the bodies and organs of the state of the Turkish Republic.”
The Chamber also ruled to impose travel bans on Güray Öz, Musa Kart, Hakan Kara, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Önder Çelik and Bülent Utku.
The Chamber upheld the appellate court’s ruling concerning the conviction against Emre İper, a former accounting department employee with Cumhuriyet. İper remained in prison, serving the remainder of the 3-year sentence he was given on the “aiding a terrorist group” charge. Once the reasoned judgment by the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals is issued, the case will be sent back to the trial court, the 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul.
The Office of the General Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals has requested the reversal of the verdict in the Cumhuriyet trial, which convicted former Cumhuriyet journalists and executives Orhan Erinç, Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu, Hikmet Çetinkaya, Aydın Engin and Ahmet Şık of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member.”
The Office of the General Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals said in their judicial opinion that all defendants except Şık should have been acquitted of all charges, while Şık should have been charged with “praising a [terrorist] group and violence” and “propaganda,” facing a combined sentence between 3.5 and 13.5 years.
The prosecutor asked the Supreme Court to reject the appeals filed by Emre İper and Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu.
The prosecutor also sought the reversal of the verdicts for five former Cumhuriyet staffers who are currently in prison because they were handed down prison sentences less than five years.
The case file will be overseen by the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals.
Six former Cumhuriyet employees returning to prison a second time
Journalists and executives that worked for the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper are waiting for final procedures to be completed before entering prison on Thursday, after a court in Istanbul upheld their prison sentences, Diken news site reported .
Some 15 staff of Cumhuriyet were handed out long prison sentences last year in April in the Cumhuriyet trials, during which the prosecutors claimed the newspaper aided the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed Kurdish group designated as a terrorist organisation in Turkey, and the Gülen movement, followers of an Islamist preacher accused of plotting the failed July 2016 coup attempt.
Journalists Ahmet Şık and Aydın Engin and the newspapers former editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu received seven-and-a-half-year sentences. Journalists Hikmet Çetinkaya and Orhan Erinç received six years and six months each, while cartoonist Musa Kart and four other Cumhuriyet staff, Güray Öz, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Hakan Kara and Önder Çelik received 45-month sentences. Columnist Kadri Gürsel was handed a 30-month sentence, while the court decided to handle files of former editor in chief Can Dundar and Cumhuriyet's former Washington reporter Ilhan Tanir separately since they were not in Turkey. All defendants in Turkey were held in pre-trial detention and were released at different stages of the trial.
The defendants appealed the ruling, but the regional court upheld the sentences. According to the Turkish law, those who are sentenced to more than five years in prison can apply to the Supreme Court of Appeals. For sentences less than five-year in prison, the defendants have to go to prison once the verdict is issued.
Accordingly, six of the defendants went to the courthouse today for the finalisation of the procedures. The journalists will serve the rest of their sentences in Kandıra prison in the northwestern province of İzmit, Diken said.
Appellate court upholds convictions in Cumhuriyet trial
An appellate court upheld on 18 February convictions against 14 former journalists and executives of the Cumhuriyet daily, paving the way for the return of eight of them to prison to serve the remainder of their terms.
14 columnists and executives of the paper handed down prison sentences varying between 2.5 years and 8 years, 1 month and 15 days
Fourteen columnists and executives of Cumhuriyet daily were convicted of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” at the final hearing of the Cumhuriyet trial on April 25, held at a courtroom inside the Silivri Prison compound.
The 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul handed down prison sentences varying between 2 years and 6 months and 8 years, 1 month and 15 days to 14 of the newspaper’s columnists and executives standing trial in the case, while acquitting three of the suspects and separating the files of two journalists from the case.
The court handed down the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, reporter Ahmet Şık and the 77-year-old veteran columnist Aydın Engin seven-and-a-half years in prison each, while Akın Atalay, the chairman of the Cumhuriyet Foundation’s executive board, was sentenced to 8 years, 1 month and 15 days in prison, the lengthiest sentence in the verdict. The court ruled to release Atalay, who spent more than 500 days in pretrial detention as part of the case, awaiting the appeal process.
Orhan Erinç, an 82-year-old veteran journalist, who is the president of the Cumhuriyet Foundation, and columnist Hikmet Çetinkaya were each handed down 6 years and 3 months in prison.
Columnist Kadri Gürsel was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months, while cartoonist Musa Kart, columnist Hakan Kara, reader representative Güray Öz, executive board members Önder Çelik and Mustafa Kemal Güngör were sentenced to 3 years and 9 months.
The newspaper’s attorney Bülent Utku was sentenced to 4 years and 6 months while accounting department employee Emre İper was sentenced to 3 years, 1 month and 15 days in prison.
Turhan Günay, the editor of the newspaper’s book supplement, was acquitted of both the “abuse of authority” and the “helping a terrorist organization without being its member” charges. Günay had spent 272 days in pretrial detention before his release in 2017. Accountants Bülent Yener and Günseli Özaltay were also acquitted.
All of the defendants charged with “abuse of authority” in the indictment were acquitted of that charge.
Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu, a suspect in the case who was purported to be the user of the Twitter account with the handle “JeansBiri” and charged with “leading a terrorist organization,” was handed down 10 years in prison. The court ruled for the continuation of his detention.
The court ruled to impose judicial control measures on all of the suspects who were handed down prison sentences.
The 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul also ruled to separate the files of Can Dündar and İlhan Tanır from the case.
The second day of the hearing began with lawyers’ closing remarks.
Duygun Yarsuvat, defense attorney for Cumhuriyet Executive Board Chairperson Akın Atalay, said in his address to the court that the case was politically motivated, adding: “There is nothing in this indictment that can be handled through principles of criminal law. The rule of law has been sacrificed in this case, designed to silence Cumhuriyet.”
Also criticising the expert opinion submitted to the case file, Yarsuvat said the experts drafted their reports using information readily available in open sources. Yarsuvat also said that one of the experts had proven in a Tweet he had posted that he was an admirer of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, adding: “This expert does not hold an academic title. His only significance is being a member of the foundation headed by Bilal Erdoğan.”
Yarsuvat also touched upon Article 220/7 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), upon which the accusations against Cumhuriyet columnists and executives rest. Yarsuvat said the term “aiding” in the charge of “aiding a terrorist organization without being a member” meant “providing material aid,” adding, “We cannot modify articles of the penal code in order to please those in power.”
Yarsuvat said the prosecutor attempted to prove his allegation that “the newspaper’s editorial policy had been changed” through witness testimonies based on hearsay.
He also said Atalay and editor in chief Murat Sabuncu to have attended the Abant Platform meetings, put together by the Gülen network-affiliated Gazeteci ve Yazarlar Vakfı (Journalists and Writers Association), were held as evidence against both Atalay and Sabuncu. Is it a crime that they attended those meetings? Burhan Kuzu, Cemil Çiçek and Fehmi Koru were among participants too. Why haven’t these meetings, held since 1997, been banned then?
Speaking after Yarsuvat, defense attorney Abbas Yalçın told the court that despite a confidentiality order to have been issued on the investigation file, the information contained in the file were leaked to pro-government media outlets.
Lawyer Tora Pekin said that Cumhuriyet had been already overwhelmed with countless court decisions ordering the court to publish retractions, decisions to ban access to articles and criminal cases brought against it, but even then no one had thought of a court case where Cumhuriyet journalists would be charged with aiding three different terrorist organizations.
Pekin said the defendants and lawyers were giving statements for the past two days knowing that the court was unlikely to rule for acquittal, but added that it was still important to make these statements as they would be put on record. “You cannot commit an unlawful act through publications that are lawful. You cannot find any word that recommends or praises violence in the news reports and articles published in Cumhuriyet because there isn’t any,” said Pekin.
Commenting on the news reports and articles included in the case file, Pekin said they consist of those which criticize government actions such as those about interception of Syria-bound trucks carrying arms, and those about the Kurdish issue. “Talking about certain issues disturbs the government, so it is a crime!” he said, adding that the prosecutor was of the view that Cumhuriyet could not publish any critical reports on the Kurdish issue because it was a “nationalist, statist and traditionalist newspaper.”
Pekin also recalled that, according to the law, the statute of limitations to file charges in connection with news reports was four months after publication. “This limit was introduced to ensure the journalists will not feel under pressure all the time. Otherwise, anyone can be prosecuted any time for a tweet they posted or an article they wrote any time in the past,” he said.
Responding to the accusations stemming from the fact that Cumhuriyet had used the same headlines in a few occasions with the shuttered Zaman daily that was affiliated with the now-banned Gülen network, Pekin said it was now a common occurrence in Turkey that about 10 newspapers use the same headline for the same story, but when Cumhuriyet uses the same headline with Zaman in a couple of instances, it is considered an anomaly.
Speaking after Pekin, defense attorney Fikret İlkiz said in his address to the court that the prosecutor alleged that Cumhuriyet had “actively aided terrorist organizations from 2013 up until the coup attempt of July 15, 2016.” “So why did you not press charges back then” İlkiz asked.
“Journalists and lawyers standing trial in this case are being criminalized for being journalists and lawyers. The very existence of this newspaper is considered a crime. The fact that no documents to indict my clients to have come up during searches on their homes is considered a crime,” İlkiz said.
Defendants’ closing speeches
Following the defense attorneys, the court asked the defendants to make their closing speeches before a recess ahead of the verdict. Below is what they said.
Akın Atalay: Whatever the verdict, we would like everyone to know that Cumhuriyet newspaper and we Cumhuriyet staff will never give up our fight against malice. We will fight until our last breath to prevent malice from becoming routine in this society.
Kadri Gürsel: We have been jailed because we are journalists. We have been presented with a crumbling, hollow, baseless indictment. Our lengthy pretrial detention turned into the execution of a penalty. Our right to fair trial has been violated. During my defense statement I defended my occupation and answered the allegations which I think are absurd. Now you are facing a tough decision. Because you will render a judgment based on a case file that includes no evidence. Which means, you will be issuing your verdict using your reason and your conscience. And I believe you will do so. I do not want to regret this belief. We will leave this courtroom with dignity and continue doing our jobs. I request our acquittal.
Güray Öz: Journalism is being put on trial in this case — which is a tough task. Accusing Cumhuriyet newspaper of [helping] a terrorist organization and of being FETÖ’ists is beyond all reason. I hope this does not turn out to be the case.
Murat Sabuncu: Being free is such a delightful thing [but] one only comes to appreciate when one loses it. Cumhuriyet journalists have always spoken the truth, no matter the circumstances. Journalism is not a crime.
Turhan Günay: Journalism is not a crime.
Aydın Engin: You had once told me that I had “the spirit of James Bond,” which I had taken as a compliment. But on second thought, I figured Bond was at the service of her majesty, whereas I am at the service of the public. The public’s right to access to information is being put on trial in this case. And you are obliged to defend the public’s right to access to information; it’s a tough task, but I cannot be of help, you’ll do it on your own.
Hikmet Çetinkaya: I wrote for years in Cumhuriyet about who Fethullah Gülen really was and his purpose. I am now accused of helping Gülen, and I reject all the accusations. Journalism is not a crime. The real crime is attempting to establish sharia rule.
Orhan Erinç: I saved my final speech for our lawyers: I would like to express my gratitude to our defense lawyers.
Mustafa Kemal Güngör: An unfair treatment on one person is an unfair treatment on the entire society. Stop this unfair treatment that has been going on for months.
Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu: I am mostly affected by the feeling of longing. Put an end to my longing for my daughter.
Ahmet Şık: I’m beginning my words by saying, “This is just the beginning.” The purpose of this setup perpetrated by a gang formed by some of the members of political, bureaucratic and media circles, was clear from day one. Then, on behalf of those who have been standing against unlawfulness and violation of rights for their entire lives, let’s respond to this gang by repeating what we’ve been saying all along: It’s you who should surrender. Source
Cumhuriyet journalists given jail sentences on terror charges
A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced 14 staff members of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet to prison on terrorism charges and acquitted three, one of their lawyers said, in a case that has sparked global outrage over press freedom under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The court handed down sentences ranging from two-and-a-half to seven-and-a-half years to the Cumhuriyet staff, lawyer Özden Ozdemir told Reuters. Defendant Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu, who was accused of having maintained popular Twitter account @Jeansbiri, which was allegedly affiliated with the Gülen movement, got the harshest sentence of 10 years in prison.
According to the Birgün daily, six of them were convicted of “aiding and abetting an armed terrorist organisation” and were given prison terms of up to seven-and-a-half years. Several others were convicted on lesser charges.
Veteran journalist Ahmet Şık, Cumhuriyet daily Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu and columnist Aydın Engin were given seven years, six months, while Cumhuriyet CEO Akın Atalay was sentenced to seven years, three months, 15 days. Publisher Orhan Erinç and columnist Hikmet Çetinkaya got six years, three months and editorial consultant Kadri Gürsel two years, six months. Three other Cumhuriyet employees, Önder Çelik, Hakan Kara, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, received three years, nine months in prison.
The staff of the newspaper –- long seen as a thorn in Erdoğan’s side and one of the few remaining voices critical of the government –- were charged with supporting the Gülen movement. “This was absolutely not a lawful verdict. At the end, it is a political case,” Özdemir said.
The case is one of several high-profile trials seen as emblematic of the broader crackdown since Erdoğan announced a state of emergency following a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The court also ruled that the case against prominent journalist Can Dündar, previously the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, would continue separately, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.
All the convicted defendants, except Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu, were released under judicial control. Cumhuriyet CEO Atalay, who was kept in pretrial detention for 542 days, was also released under the same conditions.
Turkey, which has jailed more than 250 journalists and media workers, is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Wednesday. If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.
Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) show that 259 journalists and media workers were in jail as of April 21, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 200 were under arrest pending trial while only 59 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 141 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.
Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down about 200 media outlets after the coup attempt.
Prosecutors demand jail for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet columnists, executives
The indictment into daily Cumhuriyet columnists and executives was completed on April 4, nearly five months after the investigation was launched, with the prosecutor seeking jail sentences for all 19 suspects.
30 December 2016:
Aydın Engin, a columnist for the daily Cumhuriyet, said that he was threatened twice at the weekend according to reports. The journalist, who is on trial for allegedly creating terrorist propaganda, said he has asked for police protection. Engin was cited in reports as saying that three men stopped him in Istanbul's Kadıköy District December 24 and that one of them said, "Take a good look at the sun. This will be the last time you see it." Engin said he continued walking and the group did not follow him. The journalist said that the next day he received a call to his office phone at Cumhuriyet in which the caller told him, "Your days are numbered, " reports said.
8 November 2016
More Turkish journalists in jail, and not just that…
Government spokesman Numan Kurtulmuş has claimed that the prosecution has nothing to do with Cumhuriyet’s critical publications, but rather the foundation that owns it. But that thesis fails in the cases of Sabuncu, Aydın Engin and Kadri Gürsel, the latter being two prominent columnists – now detained - who are not members of the Cumhuriyet Foundation board. Read the full article
Turkish police detain chief editor, columnists, executives of daily Cumhuriyet
Eleven people, including executives and columnists of the critical daily Cumhuriyet newspaper, were detained in a series of raids on their homes early on Oct. 31, after prosecutors initiated a probe against them on “terrorism” charges.