In the trial, where journalists Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak were previously sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment on charge of "attempting to abolish the constitutional order", the second hearing at the court of appeal was held at the 2nd Penal Chamber of İstanbul Regional Court of Justice yesterday (October 2).
While Mehmet Altan, who was released pending trial, and the arrested defendants Nazlı Ilıcak, Fevzi Yazıcı, Yakup Şimşek appeared in court, writer Ahmet Altan attended the hearing via Audio and Visual Information System (SEGBİS).
İstanbul MP of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Sezgin Tanrıkulu, journalist Yasemin Çongar, P24 journalism platform representatives and relatives of the arrested journalists also followed the hearing.
The court announced its verdict after the last statements of defence presented by the attorneys. The court has ruled that the arrest of defendant shall continue and upheld the verdict of aggravated life imprisonment, which was previously given.
The attorneys stated that they would appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeals.
Following the attempted coup of July 15, a great number of journalists were taken into custody and some were arrested within the scope of the investigation into the media leg of the "Gülenist Terror Organization/Parallel State Structure" (FETÖ/PDY).
17 Defendants Down to 7
Standing trial within the scope of the FETÖ investigation were author Ahmet Altan, his brother Prof. Dr. Mehmet Altan, journalist Nazlı Ilıcak, then Editor-in-Chief of the closed Zaman daily newspaper Ekrem Dumanlı, former Taraf columnist Emre Uslu, journalist Tuncay Opçin, Samanyolu TV Washington Representative Şemseddin Efe, former Editor-in-Chief of Today's Zaman newspaper Bülent Keneş, Prof. Dr. Osman Özsoy, Zaman daily correspondent to Israel Abdulkerim Balcı, its vice editor-in-chief Mehmet Kamış and executive Faruk Kardıç, its visual director Fevzi Yazıcı, Police Academy academic member Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül, Zaman daily brand manager Yakup Şimşek, an employee at newspaper's culture and art section, Ali Çolak, and Tibet Murat Sanlıman, the owner of the advertising agency that produced Zaman newspaper's ad released on October 10, 2015 that allegedly evoked the coup.
Istanbul 26th Heavy Penal Court, in charge of handling the case, had ruled to separate the case of defendants Dumanlı, Özsoy, Uslu, Opçin, Balcı, Keneş, Kardıç, Kamış, Efe and Çolak as police had not yet been able to take them into custody despite warrants calling for their detention. This had left a total of seven defendants in the case.
Defendants: A. Altan, M. Altan, Ilıcak, Yazıcı, Özşengül, Şimşek, Sanlıman.
Evidence presented against Ahmet Altan comprised of some articles on Taraf newspaper in the period when he was Editor-in-Chief, three newspaper columns, comments he made on a television program on July 14, phone (HTS) records and witness testimonies, while evidence against Mehmet Altan is composed of two columns, the television program he appeared on with Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak on July 14, witness testimonies, phone (HTS) records, and six 1-dollar bills found in his home.
Sentences called for in the indictment
The prosecution demanded 7.5 to 15-year prison sentences for the Altans and Ilıcak on charge of "committing crimes for an organization without being its member", 7.5 to 15 years for Sanlıman on charge of "assisting an illegal organization", and three aggravated life sentences for the other defendants on charge of "attempting a coup d'etat".
The case has the property of being the first where journalists were charged with "complicity" in the July 15 coup attempt.
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