Constitutional Court rules former Zaman columnist Türköne’s rights to liberty and security and freedom of expression not violated

The Constitutional Court’s Second Section ruled that jailed former academic and Zaman columnist Mümtazer Türköne’s detention since August 2016 was not in violation of his right to liberty and security and his rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

The top court’s judgment concerning Türköne’s application was published in the Official Gazette on 10 January 2020.

Türköne was arrested in July 2016 as part of a series of raids targeting former columnists and journalists from the shuttered Zaman newspaper. He was jailed pending trial on 4 August 2016 on the charge of “membership of an armed terrorist organization.” At the end of the “Zaman trial,” which concluded in July 2018, the trial court convicted Türköne and five of his co-defendants of “membership of a terrorist group.” Türköne was sentenced to 10 years and 6 months in prison and ordered to remain behind bars pending the appeal process. He is currently imprisoned in the Silivri Prison in Istanbul.

Türköne’s individual application had been pending before the Constitutional Court since 28 March 2017. Ruling on Türköne’s application on 27 November 2019, the top court found Türköne’s claims that his detention was in violation of his right to liberty and security and his rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press to be “admissible.” However, the court unanimously held that Türköne’s rights were “not violated.”

The Constitutional Court found Türköne’s claim that his pre-trial detention exceeded reasonable time to be “inadmissible” on the grounds that “all legal remedies have not been exhausted.”

The court also found Türköne’s claims that access to his investigation file was restricted; that his right to effectively challenge the lawfulness of his detention and that his right to be presumed innocent were violated to be “inadmissible” on the grounds that all three claims were “manifestly ill-founded.”

The full text of the Constitutional Court’s judgment (in Turkish) can be accessed here.

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