A prison sentence Ahmet Altan was handed down for “insulting Atatürk” gets canceled while another court affirms a 5-year and 11-month sentence he was given on “propaganda” and “insulting the president” charges


An appellate court vacated a prison sentence given to jailed novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan on the charge of “publicly insulting Atatürk” over his article titled “CHP,” published in the shuttered Taraf daily on 4 November 2010.

The 18th Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice, reviewing the appeal against the sentence on 26 December 2019, annulled the 1 year and 6 month sentence given to Altan on 2 July 2019 by the Anadolu 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. The court ruled unanimously for Altan’s acquittal on the grounds that the elements of the alleged offense were not present in the case.

Appeal against 5-year and 11-month sentence rejected

Another appeal by Altan’s lawyers against a sentence he was given in 2018 was rejected. The 3rd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice rejected the appeal against the 5-year and 11-month sentence Altan was handed down on two different charges over his June 2016 article titled “Ezip Geçmek” (Beating all hollow).

The 3rd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice reviewed the appeal on 17 December 2019. The court upheld the 2 year and 11 month sentence on the charge of “insulting the president” and the 3-year sentence on the charge of “spreading propaganda for a terrorist group” Altan was given by the 26th High Criminal Court of Istanbul. Altan’s lawyers will appeal the ruling with the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The same article is also held as evidence against Ahmet Altan in the trial publicly known as the “Altans case,” where he was sentenced in November 2019 to 10 years and 6 months in prison at the end of a retrial ordered by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

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