EFJ Concerned by Judicial Double Standards for Journalists Trials in Turkey

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have raised their concerns about judicial double standards in the trials of journalists in Turkey.

The lawyers of Füsun Erdogan, Bayram Namaz and Arif Celebi, on trial in the MLKP case,  have appealed for the journalists to be released based on the recent examples in separate judiciary cases, such as the Ergenekon, Balyoz and OdaTV trials, but their request has been rejected. 

Last November, after more than seven years in jail, Erdogan, Namaz and Celebi were sentenced to a total of 789 years in prison for 155 alleged crimes by a Turkish court with special powers (OYM).  

However, the Turkish government has taken the decision to abolish the decision of the OYM's in the Ergenekon, Balyoz and OdaTV trials and has made the maximum period for detention in these cases five years. As a result all the journalists imprisoned in the Ergenekon case have been freed.

The lawyers of the three journalists have appealed for their release because they have already served five years, but this has been rejected by the Court of Appeal because it considered that, at the time of the verdict, the maximum detention period was ten years. 

"This is a clear case of double standards in the legal system in Turkey," said EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Guitierrez. "In the Ergenekon case the maximum sentence was also ten years and this ruling was overturned. HoW is this case any different?

"We call for the judicial system in Turkey to be treated equally and fairly and for the Court of Appeal to overturn its decision and release the journalists Füsun Erdogan, Bayram Namaz and Arif Celebi."