Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled by yesterday’s outrageous decision by an Istanbul court to re-arrest the well-known Turkish journalist Ahmet Altan just one week after his release under judicial supervision.
Altan is going to be returned to prison after the Istanbul prosecutor’s office, in a dramatic reversal,won its appeal against a court’s decision on 4 November to release him subject to his remaining under court control and not leaving the country.
“This latest decision shows the extraordinary degree to which one of Turkey’s most brilliant journalists is being persecuted,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “Ahmet Altan has already spent more than three years in prison for no good reason, without any evidence for the charges brought against him.”
At the end of a retrial, Altan was sentenced on 4 November to ten and a half years in prison on a totally spurious charge of “assisting a terrorist organization.” But the court ordered his release on the grounds that he had already spent more than three years in detention. At yesterday’s hearing, the prosecutor’s office argued that he might flee the country.
Turkey is ranked 157th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.