ECHR Determines that Rights of Altan and Alpay were Violated

Turkey : Free Human Rights Defenders

On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on the case journalists Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay, who have been imprisioned since September of 2016. Altan and Alpay are accused of using coded language to support the coup attempt in July of 2016. In January, Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled that the rights of Altan and Alpay had been violated, and that they should therefore be released from pre-trial detention immediately. A lower court objected to the ruling and the two journalists ultimately remained in prison.

Altan was ultimately convicted and given a life sentence for his alleged crimes. Alpay was released from prison on March 16, but is still under judicial control and the charges against him have not been dropped.

In response to the ECHR’s ruling, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik said:

Today’s rulings are a resounding vindication for these two journalists and a damning indictment of Turkey’s justice system… This ruling cements what was already common knowledge: that they – like more than one hundred other journalists in Turkey – were imprisoned simply for doing their important journalistic work.

This is the first time the ECHR has ruled on a case of individuals detained due to alleged involved in the Turkish coup attempt. There are dozens of other such cases still pending, including that of Amnesty International chair Taner Kılıç.

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