Turkey was severely condemned on Tuesday by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for the detention of the famous Turkish journalist and writer Ahmet Altan, prosecuted for his alleged involvement in the failed coup of 2016.
“Nothing shows that the actions of the applicant were part of a plan to overthrow the Turkish government”, underline the European magistrates who sit in Strasbourg.
Another detained journalist
They find the violation of the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights on freedom of expression, the “right to liberty and security” and the “right to have a court adjudicated promptly on the legality of detention ”. In a separate judgment, the ECHR also condemned Ankara for the detention of Murat Aksoy, an opposition journalist who was detained a few weeks after the attempted putsch of July 15, 2016.
“There were no plausible reasons to suspect Murat Aksoy of having committed a criminal offense,” said the ECHR. Arrested for the first time in September 2016, Ahmet Altan, 71, was sentenced to life imprisonment in February 2018 for “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”, a judgment overturned by the Court of Cassation, recalls the ECHR. Rejected, he was sentenced in November 2019 to 10 and a half years in prison for “complicity with a terrorist group”.
“Grotesque” accusations according to Turkey
Turkish justice accuses him of being in connection with the movement of an Islamic preacher, Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara accuses of having hatched the attempted coup of July 2016 – which Fethullah Gülen denies. Ahmet Altan, who founded the opposition newspaper Taraf, made a name for himself outside Turkey for his account of his life in prison. His book “I will never see the world again” was published in France by Actes Sud editions.
A respected intellectual in Turkey, he has always denied any involvement in the attempted coup, rejecting “grotesque” accusations. He was notably accused of having sent “subliminal messages” during a broadcast broadcast live on a pro-Gülen channel on the eve of the failed putsch, an element which then disappeared from the indictment.