Local court makes history overruling Constitutional Court on journalist release

Istanbul’s 13th Criminal Court has for a second time defied the ruling of Turkey’s Constitutional Court to release journalists Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan, claiming that allowing their release would be “illegal”.

The local court’s decision also claimed that the Constitutional Court had shown bias and exceeded its authority in making its ruling.

The Constitutional Court on Thursday ordered the release on human rights grounds of the two journalists, who have been imprisoned since last July awaiting trial for membership of the alleged terrorist organisation accused of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt.

However, the local criminal court dealing with their case overruled the order hours later, claiming they had not received the ruling “in due course”.

Marking a first in Turkish legal history, the court on Friday challenged a decision by the Constitutional Court, claiming that it had “exceeded its authority” in ordering Alpay’s release, and that it would thus be illegal to comply with its ruling.

The local court’s decision included the statement that the Constitutional Court did not under any circumstances have the authority to examine the evidence or propriety of a case in place of the local court which is overseeing it.

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