Turkish court rejects journalists’ human rights appeals

On Friday Turkey’s highest legal body, the Constitutional Court, rejected appeals from jailed journalists Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak on the grounds that their rights had been violated, Turkish news site T24 reported.

The top court said Altan and Ilıcak's rights had not been infringed on in the lengthy pre-trial detention and sentencing last year for “aiding a terrorist organisation” through their work as journalists.

The Constitutional Court did accept the appeal of Ali Bulaç, another journalist who had been charged with “membership of a terrorist organisation”, T24 said.

The decision means that imprisonment of journalists on grounds of their news and articles is not a violation of their rights, according to T24’s report.

The journalists are expected to apply to the European Court of Human Rights because they have exhausted their options in Turkish domestic courts.

Altan and Ilıcak were last year sentenced to life imprisonment in relation to the 2016 coup attempt, and are accused of aiding the Gülen religious movement, which Ankara blames for plotting the coup.

Besides Ilıcak, Altan and Bulaç, seven more journalists, including Murat Aksoy, former Cumhuriyet newspaper columnists Kadri Gürsel and Bülent Utku, Cumhuriyet Foundation member Önder Çelik, Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu and journalists Ahmet Şık and Akın Atalay, had individually appealed to the Constitutional Court on grounds their rights had been infringed upon.

The court on Thursday also ruled Kadri Gürsel and Murat Aksoy’s right to security and freedom were violated, rejecting the remaining four applications.