Regional Court rules to release imprisoned columnist and professor of economics Mehmet Altan based on Constitutional Court judgment 

The 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice, an appeals court, ruled on June 27 for Mehmet Altan’s release from prison.

Altan will be subject to an overseas travel ban and judicial control in the form of reporting to the local police station to give his signature once a week.

In its ruling concerning the commencement of proceedings as part of the appeal process, the chamber cited the Constitutional Court’s January 11 ruling in favor of Altan as the grounds for his release. The top court had ruled in January that Mehmet Altan’s detention was in violation of his rights to personal liberty and security and freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

Mehmet Altan had been in the Silivri Prison since September 2016. He was jailed pending trial on charges stemming from alleged links to the Fethullah Gülen network, which the government accuses of orchestrating the attempted coup of July 15, 2016. Altan and five other co-defendants, including his brother, Ahmet Altan, and veteran journalist Nazlı Ilıcak, were convicted in February by an Istanbul court of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment.

The 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice ordered the continuation of the detentions of Mehmet Altan’s co-defendants Ahmet Altan, Nazlı Ilıcak, Fevzi Yazıcı, Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül and Yakup Şimşek pending the appeal process.

The regional court will hear the case on September 21.

Earlier in June, Altan’s lawyers Ergin Cinmen and Figen Albuga Çalıkuşu started filing petitions on a daily basis demanding his release based on the judgments in favor of Altan rendered by the Constitutional Court of Turkey and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). In its March 20 judgement concerning the application filed on behalf of Mehmet Altan, the ECtHR also found a violation of personal liberty and security under Article 5/1 of the European Convention of Human Rights and of freedom of expression under Article 10.

 

The release decision for Mehmet Altan (in Turkish) can be accessed here.