An Istanbul court on Nov. 12 reversed a previous ruling to release journalist Ahmet Altan, on appeal filed by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The Istanbul 27th Heavy Penalty Court sustained the appeal and revoked the decision to release him. Subsequently, an arrest warrant for Altan was issued. State-run Anadolu Agency reported that Altan was detained at his home in Istanbul’s Göztepe neighborhood.
In a ruling on Nov. 4, the Istanbul 26th Heavy Penalty Court had ordered the release of Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak, a columnist and former parliamentarian, under judicial control due to the time they have already served in jail.
The country’s Supreme Court of Appeals in July overturned the pair’s life sentences.
Both were convicted of aiding the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, identified by Turkish officials as the 2016 coup’s mastermind. The journalists denied the accusations. In a retrial on Nov. 4, Altan was re-sentenced to 10 1/2 years and Ilıcak to nearly nine. Both had been detained since July 2016.
Regarding the court’s decision to re-arrest Altan on Nov. 12, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Marie Struthers said: “It is shocking to hear that Ahmet Altan will once again be re-arrested following the prosecutor’s appeal against his release.”
“He was prosecuted, jailed and convicted without a shred of evidence, purely because of his opinions. It is impossible to see this decision as anything other than further punishment for his determination not be silenced and it compounds an already shocking catalogue of injustice he has been subjected to.”
Meanwhile, Altan’s lawyer, Figen Albuga Çalıkuşu, said that they had heard about the re-arrest decision from the media and had not been directly informed.
Appalled by the decision to re-arrest #AhmetAltan in #Turkey, one week after he was released. This is a terrible setback and can only deepen the media freedom crisis in the country. I call for the decision to be reversed. See full statement here: https://t.co/xwhYYsUNs1 pic.twitter.com/asmzautqul
— OSCE media freedom (@OSCE_RFoM) November 12, 2019
No words. Only anger. This is insane. Who will be next? On whose door in #Turkey they will knock tomorrow? #FreeAhmetAltan @candundaradasi @pen_int @RSF_inter @Dunja_Mijatovic @harlemdesir @EP_President @JHahnEU #journalismisnotacrime #freethemall https://t.co/HJfRc6UB3i
— Rebecca Harms (@RebHarms) November 12, 2019