The objection made by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for the release of writer Ahmet Altan after 1138 days under arrest was accepted by Istanbul 27th Assize Court. Ahmet Altan was detained and imprisoned once again.
What had happened?
Istanbul 26th Assize Court sentenced six defendants, including Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak to heavy life imprisonment due to “attempting to overthrow the order predicted by the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey as well as to bring a different order while actively preventing the application of the existing order through the use of force and violence” on February 16, 2018. The decree was approved by the 2nd Criminal Chamber of Istanbul Regional Court.
The decree was later evaluated for appeal at the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation and the heavy life imprisonment sentence against the six defendants, including Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak, due to “violating the Turkish Constitution” was reversed. The court of Cassation decided that the acts of Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak did not constitute the crime of “violating the Constitution” but of “willfully aiding and abetting a terrorist organisation.” The Chamber had denied release claims of the other five arrested defendants.
Re-evaluating the case, Istanbul 26th Assize Court abided by the decree of reversal and issued for the arrested defendants to remain under arrest.
In the hearing at Istanbul 26th Assize Court on November 4, 2019, Ahmet Altan was sentenced to 10 years and six months of imprisonment due to “willfully aiding and abetting an illegal organisation without being a member.” Altan was released due to the time he spent under arrest as well as the quality of the charge. Journalist Nazlı Ilıcak was sentenced to 8 years and nine months of imprisonment due to “willfully aiding and abetting an illegal organisation” and was released with judicial measures due to the time she spent under arrest as well as the quality of the charge. A decree of acquittal was issued for Mehmet Altan. Afterwards, Ahmet Altan was released from Silivri Prison, where he was under arrest since September 23, 2016.