Release ordered for two Turkish journalists

A Turkish court has ordered the release of Ahmet Şık and Murat Sabuncu, two Turkish journalists at Cumhuriyet newspaper, during their ongoing trial for spreading propaganda for a terrorist organisation. The third defendant in the same case, Akin Atalay, has been kept in detention.

Atalay and Sabuncu have been held in prison for almost 500 days, while Şık’s detention began several months later.

The charges against the trio allege that they have supported a range of proscribed groups, some of which are opponents of one another. In Şık’s case, the allegation that he is linked to followers of Fethullah Gülen, the group the Turkish state blames for organising the failed July 2016 coup attempt, are bitterly ironic. Prosecutors linked to Gülen jailed Şık in 2011 after he wrote a book called “The Imam’s Army”, describing how Gülenists had infiltrated the ranks of the police.

The three could face jail terms of up to 43 years if found guilty in the trial, the next hearing of which is due on Mar. 16.
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