Turkey: Press-freedom activists picket Istanbul prison over trial for 17 Cumhuriyet journalists

Scores of press freedom activists and members of the Turkish Republican People’s Party (CHP) gathered outside of Istanbul’s Silivri Prison on Monday in protest against the trial of 17 Cumhuriyet reporters, cartoonists and executives who are being tried on terrorism charges. Snipers and armed guards watched over the protest which condemned the journalists’ imprisonment as the stifling of... Еще democratic freedom of speech. CHP Deputy Chairman Engin Altay warned onlookers that, «The stage that we are facing now is that we are not allowing the journalists to make a statement on issues related to the freedom of speech, and this heavy isolation against journalism is extremely challenging to the basis of our democracy.» Arrest warrants for the daily’s former-editor-in-chief Can Dundar and Ilhan Tanır have also remained in place. If convicted, the remaining five journalists could face up to 43 years in prison. Cumhuriyet is one of several publications that have been targeted by the judiciary, by the end of 2016 almost half the paper's reporters, columnists and executives had been jailed by the Recep Tayyip Erdogan government. Those standing trial facing various charges of aiding the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) and the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by the Turkish government of being behind last year's failed coup.

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