Life sentence for Turkish writers cruel – Orhan Pamuk

The Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk has spoken out against the life sentences handed to three Turkish writers last Friday, calling the ruling “cruel, unjustified and unjust,” reported Turkish news site Evrensel.

The writer Ahmet Altan, his brother, sociologist Mehmet Altan, and journalist Nazlı Ilıcak were sentenced to life imprisonment for “attempting to overturn the constitutional order” in a decision that the human rights organisation PEN America called “a horrific assault on freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Turkey”.

The local criminal court that passed the sentence had been ordered by Turkey’s Constitutional Court to release Mehmet Altan on humanitarian grounds, but in an unprecedented move refused to comply with the country’s highest judicial body.

Pamuk, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006, made a statement of support through the Turkish news site T24, saying that the “inordinate” sentences harmed not only the writers themselves, but society’s trust in the rule of law and the government, and calling for the ruling to be reviewed.