The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) was relieved to learn that on 9 March, a court in Istanbul ordered the release of two journalists from the governmental-critical paper Cumhuriyet, while anticipating the conclusion of their trial for terror charges.
Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu and investigative journalist Ahmet Sik (Ahmet Şık) were freed on bail a year after their initial imprisonment, following the prosecution of the paper´s staff for terror-related charges.
The two men were freed after a day-long hearing by a judge, while the court decided that the paper´s executive board chairman Akin Atalay must remain in custody.
“SEEMO welcomes the decision of the court to temporarily release Sabuncu and Sik and strongly urges authorities in Turkey to drop or revoke all charges brought against them. However, it is difficult to rejoice in their freedom, when over 150 journalists in Turkey remain either behind bars, accused of similar or same charges, or face jail for arbitrary allegations that were meant to silence and censor them. All press workers in Turkey must be given the chance to work freely, without legislative or any other form of intimidation, and without fear that their words and opinions will have them jailed”, said SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe.