The sixth session of the trial of 17 executives and journalists from Turkish daily ‘Cumhuriyet’, including the newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief Murat Sabuncu, Ahmet Şık, Kadri Gürsel and cartoonist Musa Kart, will take place today in a hearing room across the way from Istanbul’s Silivri Prison.
The first five court hearings were held in July in the Çağlayan district of Istanbul. After which, the court had ordered the release of seven daily Cumhuriyet journalists and executives on July 28 but ruled that five others, who are being accused on charges of “supporting terror”, should remain in custody.
Those journalists and executives who were released were – cartoonist Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Turan Günay, Önder Çelik, Kemal Güngör, Hakan Karasinir and Güray Öz.
However, the court had rejected the defence’s demand to release journalists Ahmet Şık, Kadri Gürsel, Murat Sabuncu, Kemal Aydoğdu and board member Akın Atalay.
Arrest warrants for the daily’s former-editor-in-chief Can Dündar and İlhan Tanır also remained in place.
The hearings regarding 17 journalists and executives ended on July 28 after they testified over the past five days after being held for more than 270 days.
The charges directed at them include “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” and “helping an armed terrorist organisation while not being a member of it.”
If convicted, they face varying terms of up to 43 years in prison.
Various press associations came together in the Aegean province of İzmir on September 8, and called on the authorities to release the remaining jailed journalists.