Turkey: Opposition Cumhuriyet journalists released pending trial

Turkey sentences 25 journalists to jail over failed coup

Turkey sentences 25 journalists to jail for 'coup links'

Silivri - The trial resumed on Friday of staff from Turkey's opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper seen as a test of press freedom under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with two suspects now approaching their 500th day behind bars. A total of 19 of the suspects were already being held in jail ahead of the verdict.

It is unclear when the court will announce a final verdict.

Also present were the defendants who were released past year after long stints in jail but also remain charged, including cartoonist Musa Kart and columnist Kadri Gursel.

All three jailed suspects were present as the trial resumed at the courthouse in Silivri outside Istanbul, part of a complex that also contains the prison where they are held.

- A court on Thursday convicted a musician-turned-newspaper columnist of "knowingly and willingly" aiding the network led by USA -based Mulim cleric Fethullah Gulen and sentenced him to three years and one month in prison, Turkey's state-run news agency reported.

Gulen, a longtime rival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, now resides in exile in the United States. They also remain charged, including cartoonist Musa Kart and columnist Kadri Gursel. "I would prefer if you were angry, for anger will keep us standing", Sik said. I don't want you to be happy while Akin Atalay is still inside.

Dozens of journalists have been detained in the crackdown that followed the failed coup.

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In a statement, Amnesty International said the ruling offered a "glimmer of hope" in a country where media has been hard hit.

Turkey declared a state of emergency following the July 15, 2016, attempted coup and proceeded to crack down on Gulen's movements and other government critics.

The court in Istanbul also convicted journalist Murat Aksoy of aiding Gulen's group and sentenced him to two years and one month in prison.

"The allegations are unimaginable", he said, adding it was Cumhuriyet which had properly reported on the activities of Gulen. He has purged tens of thousands of people suspected of disloyalty from the government and the military, and thousands more have been arrested and charged with supporting terrorism.

It ruled he should face an even more serious charge of espionage in a new trial and risk a longer prison term of up to 20 years.

Dundar and his colleague from the Cumhuriyet newspaper, Erdem Gul, had each been sentenced in May 2016 to five years in prison for publishing a video purporting show Turkey's intelligence agency trucking weapons into Syria.

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