Jan Willem Goudriaan, the general secretary of the European Federation of Public Service Unions, has called for freedom for Ahmet and Mehmet Altan ahead of the first hearing in their trial on June 19.
Ahmet Altan, a renowned novelist and journalist, and his brother, economist and columnist Mehmet Altan, have been imprisoned pending trial since last September. The prosecutor of the case seeks three aggravated life sentences and an additional prison term of up to 15 years for the Altans on coup and terrorism charges.
“It is high time for the Turkish government to withdraw the ludicrous charges and let you walk free, and free to write about the events in Turkey,” Goudriaan wrote, adding that this would “give an important signal to those that want democracy, social justice and freedom to prevail in Turkey.”
Guadriaan sent his letter to www.ahmetaltanmehmetaltan.com, where letters sent to the Altans but cannot be delivered to them due to restrictions in prison are published. Under restrictions imposed as part of the ongoing State of Emergency, Ahmet and Mehmet Altan are barred from sending or receiving letters.
Full text of Guadriaan’s letter is as follows:
I wish you much strength and courage one month before your trial.
It is high time for the Turkish government to withdraw the ludicrous charges and let you walk free, and free to write about the events in Turkey. It would give an important signal to those that want democracy, social justice and freedom to prevail in Turkey
The European trade union movement (and certainly our colleagues of the EFJ) are following closely what goes on. EPSU as a European Federation has affiliated unions in Turkey. Especially KESK and its affiliates have seen many union members being dismissed, suspended and arrested. No evidence, no recourse to normal legal processes.
Prison circumstances can be weighing down on a person. I am sure your spirit and search for truth are not broken. We think of you, and of the many other journalists, academicians, trade union leaders in jail in Turkey.
Jan Willem Goudriaan