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Top Turkey Court Rejects Jailed Journalist Appeals

Turkey’s highest court rejected appeals on Friday from two prominent journalists jailed over links to the failed coup in 2016, state media reported.

The Constitutional Court said the rights of Nazli Ilicak, 74, and Ahmet Altan, 69, were not violated, state news agency Anadolu said.

They were given life sentences last year after being accused of ties to the outlawed group of U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara accuses of ordering the attempted overthrow.

Ilicak is a former MP who wrote for leading dailies including Hurriyet, while Altan is a novelist who founded the now-closed opposition daily Taraf.

They were accused of appearing together on a pro-Gulen channel just before the attempted coup, saying an overthrow of the government was imminent.

Gulen denies ordering the coup attempt.

The Constitutional Court ruled in favor of another journalist, Ali Bulac, saying his right to freedom of expression and personal security had been violated.

It has been reviewing rights violations for those arrested after the coup attempt, but its rulings do not automatically impact criminal sentences.

On Thursday, the court ruled that the rights of two other journalists — Kadri Gursel and Murat Aksoy — were also violated.

According to the P24 press freedom group, there are 144 jailed journalists in Turkey, most of whom were held in the mass crackdown after the coup bid.

Turkey ranked 157 out of 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom index published by Reporters Without Borders.

Top Court Upholds Life Sentence for Journalists Altan Brothers, Ilicak

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