After Brief Detention, Veteran Turkish Journalist Released
After hours of detention, veteran journalist Kadri Gursel was released
One of Turkey’s best-known opposition journalists, Kadri Gursel, was sent back to prison on Wednesday after an appeals court upheld his sentence for “helping terror groups”, his lawyer said. After public outcry, he was released later on the same evening.
Gursel, who is also a columnist for Al Monitor, was convicted last year with several colleagues from Cumhuriyet — one of the few remaining dailies opposing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — as part of a crackdown on civil society that followed a failed coup in 2016.
He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison but was later released pending his appeal.
Gursel said in an Instagram post on Wednesday that he had arrived at the Istanbul courthouse to be “sent back to jail” after previously serving 11 months in prison between 2016 and 2017.
Gursel shared a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. in his Instagram post:
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
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“Herhangi bir yerdeki adaletsizlik, her yerde adalete karşı tehdittir.” Martin Luther King, Jr. Bu fotoğrafı 29 Mayıs 2019’da, hakkımda Cumhuriyet davasında verilen ve kesinleşen hapis hükmünün infazı için yeniden hapse konulmak üzere geldiğim İstanbul Adliyesi’nde çektim.
His lawyer later confirmed to AFP that Gursel was “right now in prison”, adding that they did not yet know the length of detention.
It came in spite of a ruling by Turkey’s Constitutional Court this month that Gursel’s rights to free expression and personal safety had been violated.
“After everything is taken into consideration including the Constitutional Court’s decision, Kadri Gursel must be released immediately,” his lawyer told AFP.
Gursel has been a journalist and columnist for three decades, writing for prominent newspapers such as Milliyet, and also worked for AFP between 1993 and 1997.
An appeals court in Istanbul earlier this year unanimously approved the sentences given to the Cumhuriyet defendants, including cartoonist Musa Kart who returned to prison in April.
The columnist thanked everybody who coalesced around a united goal on social media to secure his release. The same day, NASA Scientist Serkan Golge was also released.