Wednesday 13 November 2019 - 08:53

Turkey Re-arrests Journalist a week After His Release

Story Code : 827121
Turkey Re-arrests Journalist a week After His Release
Altan and another veteran journalist, Nazlı Ilıcak, were released on 4 November despite having been convicted of “helping a terrorist group”.

The Istanbul court sentenced Altan to more than 10 years in jail but ruled that he and Ilıcak should be released under supervision after time already served – around three years each. They were forbidden to leave the country.

But an arrest warrant was issued on Tuesday after the chief public prosecutor appealed against the decision to release Altan, state news agency Anadolu said.

Istanbul police said later that officers detained Altan at his home in the district of Kadikoy on the city’s Asian side.

Altan has been accused of having links to the outlawed movement of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara accuses of ordering the attempted overthrow of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in 2016.

Gülen denies the accusation and Ahmed Altan and Ilicak have denied any involvement in the failed coup, calling such accusations “grotesque”.

The pair were sentenced to life in prison last year, but a top appeals court quashed the verdict in July and ordered a retrial on a different charge.

Amnesty International’s Europe director, Marie Struthers, lambasted the “scandalous” move. “It is impossible to see this decision as anything other than further punishment for his determination not to be silenced and it compounds an already shocking catalogue of injustice he has been subjected to,” he said.

Karin Karlekar, PEN America’s director of Free Expression at Risk Programs, described Altan’s re-arrest as “a disgrace and a horror” and called for his immediate release.

“Ahmet should never have been imprisoned to begin with; he has
committed no crime. His release last week after more than three years in detention was a cause for hopeful celebration, but today we are faced again with the cruelty of a justice system that no longer upholds the rule of law,” she said.