Prison Sentences of Journalists Aksoy, Taş Upheld
The sentences of prison, which were previously given to 26 people, including journalists Murat Aksoy and Atilla Taş, who were released in October 2017, on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization" and "attempting to stage a coup", have been upheld.
The 2nd Penal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice (BAM) announced its verdict, where it had evaluated the requests for appeal, on October 22. The court ruled that the arrest of imprisoned defendants shall continue and rejected their requests for appeal with prejudice.
The prison sentences previously given to journalists Atilla Taş and Murat Aksoy have become definitive since that they are less than five years.
The 2nd Penal Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice (BAM) rejected the requests for appeal raised by defendants including Abdullah Kılıç, Ahmet Memiş, Ali Akkuş, Bayram Kaya, Bünyamin Köseli, Cemal Azmi Kalyoncu, Cihan Acar, Cuma Ulus, Davut Aydın, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, Habip Güler, Halil İbrahim Balta, Hanım Büşra Erdal, Hüseyin Aydın, Muhammet Sait Kuloğlu, Mustafa Erkan Acar, Mutlu Çölgeçen, Oğuz Usluer and Ünal Tanık.
The court also ruled for the continuation of their arrest.
The court board of the İstanbul 25th Heavy Penal Court had previously ruled that the files of fugitive defendants Bülent Ceyhan and Said Sefa shall be separated since the arrest warrants issued against them had not been executed. The board also ruled that Muhterem Tanık shall be acquitted of the charge of "being a member of an armed terrorist organization".
In the verdict of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice, it was stated that the evidence in the case file was sound and sufficient for conviction and the ruling of the local court complied with the law.
As part of this lawsuit, journalists were arrested again shortly after a verdict of release was issued for them.
On August 30, 2016, İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's office issued a detention order for 35 people, including several academics and journalists, as part of the investigation against FETÖ following the coup attempt on July 15. 27 of the 35 detainees were later arrested.
The state-run Anadolu News Agency reported on the detention order for the journalists and writers with the headline "Operation against the media organization of FETÖ".
In the trial which was called "Media Organization" as part of the "Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/ Parallel State Organization/ FETÖ", 29 people were put on trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization" and "attempting to stage a coup".
A lawsuit was filed against the journalists on the stated charges at İstanbul 25th Heavy Penal Court, which gave its verdict on October 24, 2017.
As per the verdict of the court, 23 defendants were sentenced to 6years and three months to seven years and six months in prison on charge of "being members of an armed terrorist organization".
Facing the charge of "aiding an armed terrorist organization", defendant Atilla Taş was sentenced to 3 years, 1 month and 15 days in prison while Murat Aksoy was sentenced to 2 years and 1 month in prison. (EMK/SD) Source
Another two from Boydak family arrested over coup charges
This article originally appeared in Turkish Minute on Jan. 10.
Twenty-five Turkish journalists including Kaya were sentenced to terms ranging from two to seven years on March 8.
“You want to scream… You scream as much as you can… Your scream reaches the sky… But no one hears you,” said Kaya, who is in Istanbul’s Silivri Prison for two years, in a letter published on the tr724 news website on Wednesday.
“Being a prisoner is like a small death,” Kaya added, explaining his ways of getting over it:
“The best way is not to see them [the concrete walls and barbed wire].”
Saying that “hope” and “longing” are the two magic words for him, Kaya said: “Everything is at your disposal when you have these words. You face a second death when you lose them.”
In his emotional letter Kaya also wrote about his adventure with a daisy that grew in the courtyard of his prison block.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on March 9 condemned the sentences that 25 Turkish journalists including Kaya received the day before in a political mass trial in Istanbul targeting opposition journalists.
“We condemn these sentences as an act of political despotism, not an act of justice,” RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said. “After this trial, we must conclude that no vestige of the rule of law remains in Turkey. Once again, we call for the immediate release of all journalists convicted arbitrarily.”
“Concerned by today’s decision of 25th Criminal Court in Istanbul to imprison several journalists incl. @murataksoy & @AtillaTasNet. The severe charges were never proven during the investigation. I urge #Turkey to free the journalists & drop unfounded charges against them,” OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir tweeted.
“The sentencing in Istanbul today of at least 22 journalists on anti-state charges is a disgrace to Turkey’s justice system, and we call on authorities to drop the charges on appeal,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said from New York.
“Turkish authorities must stop equating journalism with terrorism, and release the scores of press workers jailed for doing their job.”
Following a July 15, 2016 coup attempt, the Turkish government designated the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization in a development that many say was politically motivated. Working at a Gülen-linked media organization, depositing money in the Gülen-linked Bank Asya or even downloading the ByLock mobile phone application, which is the top communication tool among the Gülen followers according to Turkish authorities, are all seen as signs of membership in a terrorist organization.
Zaman, which was Turkey’s best-selling newspaper, was taken over by the government in March 2016 and then closed down in the aftermath of the failed coup.
Zaman had angered the government with its critical stance and extensive coverage of a corruption scandal that erupted in late 2013. Source
.............................. Bayram Kaya (Yeni Hayat) ..............................
25 July 2015:
Authorities have said the journalists were arrested as part of an operation into the media arm of the FETÖ/PDY organization. İstanbul Deputy Prosecutor İsmail Uçar is in charge of the investigation. Source
Istanbul's Fifth Court of Penal Peace on June 30, 2016, arraigned Kaya and 16 other journalists, ordering them jailed pending trial on charges of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," according to the media monitoring group P24.
The daily newspaper Hürriyet reported that the 17 journalists were questioned by prosecutors on accusations of "being members of an armed terrorist organization," "founding or leading an armed terrorist organization," "knowingly and willingly helping [a terrorist] organization without being involved in the organization's hierarchical structure," and "committing crimes in the name of a [terrorist] organization without being a member."
A court in March 2016 ordered Zaman's parent company, the Feza Media Group, put under trustees selected by the government, saying the company and the newspaper had ties to the Gülenist network. After the government-appointed trustees took control of Zaman and the newspaper's editorial line changed accordingly, a group of Zaman journalists founded the newspaper Yeni Hayat. That newspaper stopped publishing after the failed July 2016 coup attempt.
CPJ research shows that authorities have targeted dozens of former Zaman journalists with arrest and prosecution on terrorism charges since the failed July 2016 coup.
In the original indictment, all but one of 17 c-accused in Kaya’s case were charged with “being a member of an armed [terrorist] organization,” which carries up to 10 years in prison, according to reports. The indictment accused the defendants of manipulating public perception of FETÖ to turn people against the government, which, prosecutors argued, made them members of the group.
CPJ found the indictment to be similar to those presented at trials of other journalists in Turkey. Prosecutors cited as evidence journalistic activity or acts of free speech and communication, or cited circumstantial evidence such as being employed by a certain media outlet or having an account at a bank allegedly linked to Gülenists.
In Kaya’s case, prosecutors cited as evidence the journalist’s three books on journalism and his social media activity as evidence of his alleged membership in the group. One of the books, Babam Sağolsun – Bakanlar ve Oğulları (Thank You Father – The Ministers and Their Sons), is about alleged government corruption; one book claims that the government secretly profiles citizens; and the third is on the 2007 assassination of journalist Hrant Dink.
When the trial started in March 2017, an Istanbul court ordered Kaya and several of the other journalists to be released while the case was heard, according to news reports. Prosecutors successfully appealed the decision, and authorities ordered an investigation into the judges who had ordered the release and they were relieved of duty, according to the reports.
Kaya was being detained in Silivri Prison, Istanbul. Source
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