Only last week the courts convicted over a dozen staff
Fourteen columnists and executives of Cumhuriyet daily were convicted of "aiding a terrorist organization without being its member" at the final hearing of the Cumhuriyet trial on April 25, held at a courtroom inside the Silivri Prison compound.
The 27th High Criminal Court of Istanbul handed down prison sentences varying between 2 years and 6 months and 8 years, 1 month and 15 days to 14 of the newspaper's columnists and executives standing trial in the case, while acquitting three of the suspects and separating the files of two journalists from the case.
The court handed down the newspaper's editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, reporter Ahmet Şık and the 77-year-old veteran columnist Aydın Engin seven-and-a-half years in prison each, while Akın Atalay, the chairman of the Cumhuriyet Foundation's executive board, was sentenced to 8 years, 1 month and 15 days in prison, the lengthiest sentence in the verdict. The court ruled to release Atalay, who spent more than 500 days in pretrial detention as part of the case, awaiting the appeal process.
Orhan Erinç, an 82-year-old veteran journalist, who is the president of the Cumhuriyet Foundation, and columnist Hikmet Çetinkaya were each handed down 6 years and 3 months in prison.
Columnist Kadri Gürsel was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months, while cartoonist Musa Kart, columnist Hakan Kara, reader representative Güray Öz, executive board members Önder Çelik and Mustafa Kemal Güngör were sentenced to 3 years and 9 months.
The newspaper's attorney Bülent Utku was sentenced to 4 years and 6 months while accounting department employee Emre İper was sentenced to 3 years, 1 month and 15 days in prison.
Turhan Günay, the editor of the newspaper's book supplement, was acquitted of both the "abuse of authority" and the "helping a terrorist organization without being its member" charges. Günay had spent 272 days in pretrial detention before his release in 2017. Accountants Bülent Yener and Günseli Özaltay were also acquitted.