Turkish court supports the imprisonment of 14 journalists and employees of “Cumhuriyet” newspaper

The Turkish Court of Appeal upheld the verdict of 14 journalists and administrators of the Turkish “Cumhuriyet” daily newspaper, Tuesday, and it will bring several of them to prison to serve the remaining sentences.

Last year, a 14-member of the newspaper, which is still one of the few voices critical of the Turkish government, was jailed by a court after being accused of terrorism and supporting the exiled US cleric Fathullah Golan, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016.

Rights groups have expressed growing concern about press freedom in Turkey and accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of using the failed coup attempt to silence the opposition.

“Cumhuriyet” said an appeals court ruled the trial was legal and supported the sentences against its employees, adding that the prison term of less than five years was final and that the sentences that would exceed that would be considered by a higher court.

The pointed out that the five-year prison sentence of its five journalists and administrators will spend the rest of the sentence, explaining that the newspaper’s editor Murat Sabuncu was among those who were sentenced to imprisonment for more than five years.

Since the failed coup attempt, the Turkish authorities have locked more than 77,000 people on trial and separated some 150,000 others from their civil and military jobs.