Turkey’s Constitutional Court (AYM) on Friday accepted an application lodged by a Turkish singer who claimed the second imprisonment violated his human rights.
The AYM ruled that the re-arrest of Atilla Tas in November 2018 after he was released in March 2018 constituted a violation of human rights.
“The AYM ruled today that my arbitrary second arrest was a rights violation. I have known that my innocence would be understood one day. It has been seen from the AYM’s annotated ruling that there was no offense other than my tweets and columns,” said Tas in his Twitter account.
Taş, a pop singer turned columnist for the now-shuttered daily Meydan which was critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was first detained on August 31, 2016, following a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The columnist handed himself in to police after learning from news reports that he was wanted on suspicion of being a follower of Fethullah Gulen, a self-exiled US-based Muslim preacher whom the Erdogan regime accuses of masterminding the July 2016 coup and deems Gulen’s movement a terror organization.
The cleric and his followers deny any involvement in the coup and terror activities.
On March 8, 2018, Tas was convicted of “knowingly and willingly aiding an [terrorist] organization” and was released pending appeal after serving 14 months in prison.
Tas was again taken into custody on November 9, 2018, after a local appeals court upheld his 37-month and a 15-day prison sentence.
The singer was released in February due to time already served after a court in Kocaeli province accepted an objection to his continued imprisonment.
Tas was also a member of the party council of the secular main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
In the aftermath of the 2016 coup attempt, Erdogan launched a crackdown on real and alleged members of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.
As a result, nearly 80,000 people have been detained or arrested while a whopping number of more than 511,000 people have been prosecuted due to alleged affiliation with the Gulen group, the Interior Ministry said.