ISTANBUL, Turkey – Fifteen employees of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet were sentenced on terrorism charges by a Turkish court in Istanbul on Wednesday. The court also acquitted three other employees.
The sentences of the defendants range from two-and-a-half years to seven-and-a-half years, reports say.
Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu was sentenced to seven years and six months, while investigative reporter Ahmet Sik received a seven-and-a-half year sentence.
In a front page editorial ahead of the court hearing on Wednesday, the paper wrote: “Enough is enough with this cruelty.” After the verdict, its website read: “You will be shamed in front of history.”
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the convictions and called for all of those found guilty to be freed immediately.
“Turkish authorities must stop equating journalism with terrorism, and release the scores of press workers jailed for doing their job,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia programme co-ordinator Nina Ognianova said in a statement in March.