Turkey sentences at least 22 journalists on terrorism-related charges



The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned a Turkish court's decision today to sentence at least 22 journalists to prison on terrorism-related charges, and called on Turkish authorities to release them without delay.

"The sentencing in Istanbul today of at least 22 journalists on anti-state charges is a disgrace to Turkey's justice system, and we call on authorities to drop the charges on appeal," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said from New York. "Turkish authorities must stop equating journalism with terrorism, and release the scores of press workers jailed for doing their job."

The journalists all denied the charges, according to media reports.

The trial, with a total 29 defendants, made headlines in March 2017, when a court ordered that 21 of them be released pending trial. Twenty of those were re-arrested on the same day, and the judges who released the defendants were later relieved of their jobs. Of the 20 re-arrested, prosecutors charged 12 of them with the more serious offense of plotting the failed coup of July 2015, a crime that could have carried a life sentence without parole. Today, all the defendants were acquitted of the coup-related charges.

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