Turkish court rejects appeal from journalist Ahmet Altan

A Turkish court on Thursday rejected an application from detained journalist Ahmet Altan who appealed against his imprisonment on grounds his rights had been infringed, Sabah daily reported.

The Istanbul 28th Criminal Court on Thursday ruled that the decision for the imprisonment of Altan was legitimate and rejected his lawyer's appeal for the journalist's release, Sabah said.

Altan, one of the most prominent journalists and critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was detained after a decision by a Turkish court earlier on Tuesday reversing a previous ruling for his release and issuing a warrant for his arrest.

Convicted of aiding U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, who Ankara accuses of orchestrating the failed coup attempt in 2016, Altan was detained in Sept. 2016 and released from prison on Nov. 4 on account of the time he has already served in jail.

Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk released a statement following Altan's imprisonment.

"One needs to be as brave and strong like Ahmet Altan, to tell the truth in Turkey. Altan had been behind the bars for more than three years due to flimsy evidence. The ones, who released him, re-arrested him after they see that the courageous writer is not afraid, frustrated and continues to criticise the state and the government with exemplary courage. It is not acceptable to violate the law with such arbitrariness and recklessly ignoring high court rulings. We are ashamed of ourselves and our humanity as we remain silent over the systematic injustices against Altan. Even worse, we welcome and normalise lawlessness and arbitrariness.

This increasingly bizarre injustice will continue to poison us as Altan remains behind bars. Altan's courage and determination are not tolerated by the ones who campaigned against him on social media after his release, and those who persistently broadcast for a week for him to be re-arrested. Ahmet Altan's courage and personality are the obstacles for those who want to control society with fear. That's why they see going back to lawlessness as the only option against him and put him back in jail. Ahmet Altan should be released, Turkey should return to normal and a fair legal system that it deserves," Pamuk said in his statement. 

The Istanbul 27th Criminal Court on Tuesday reversed the ruling for the release Altan, following an appeal by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosector’s Office.

The prominent journalist was detained in a crackdown against intellectuals and writers following the failed putsch and given a life sentence in Feb. 2018 over attempting to overthrow the “constitutional order,” “interfering with the work of the national assembly,” and “interfering with the work of the government” through violence or force.