Turkish courts reject ruling to release jailed journalists

Two Turkish journalists jailed for over a year had their release requests rejected by the country’s penal courts, hours after a constitutional court ruled that they should be freed.

Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay have been in detention for over a year as part of the Turkish government’s media purge that followed the failed coup attempt in 2016.

They were accused of attempting to overthrow the government and having terrorist links, both charges of which they deny. Altan is an economics professor and liberal commentator and Alpay is a columnist.

The initial constitutional court ruling to release the journalists claimed that their rights had been violated in custody. Experts had hoped that it would set a positive precedent for other journalists detained under the countries state of emergency since July 2016.

Some 160 journalists have been arrested since the crackdown, and 131 media outlets have been shut down.

The most common charge levelled against journalists has been spreading propaganda for outlawed political parties.

On Wednesday, the Turkish Journalist association called for the release of 145 imprisoned reporters, claiming that the country is now the largest jailer of journalists in the world.

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