Journalist Fusun Erdogan and seven others released!

fusun-erdoganGood news today, as Fusun Erdogan and seven others, including two other journalists were finally released from prison.

Hurriyet Daily News reports

Erdoğan, along with two other journalists, Bayram Namaz and Arif Çelebi, had been sentenced to a total of 789 years in prison for 155 alleged crimes by a specially authorized court in Turkey.

The Istanbul 20th High Criminal Court ruled for the release of eight suspects, including the three journalists, on the grounds that their pre-trial detention exceeded the legal limit set by new legislation that reduced the limit from 10 to five years. An appeal process is still ongoing regarding the case.

Erdoğan and the other suspects were imprisoned for nearly eight years pending the conclusion of the lengthy trial process.

As outlined by Bill Jones on these pages, this case was a particularly egregious one. 

Here are three quick take aways:

1. The reduction from ten to five years of pre-trial detention is positive, but still allows Turkey to effectively imprison dissidents for lengthy periods with little or no evidence, and no opportunity for the accused to effectively defend themselves.

2. While we are delighted by this news, the fact remains that Erdogan and others had years of their lives stolen from them by the state.

3. Many – including dozens of journalists – remain behind bars in Turkey.  This is an important victory.  But there is a lot of work for us to do.

Howard Eissenstat
St. Lawrence University

[Updated with improved links]


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