COPENHAGEN, 16 February 2018 – A decision reached by a Turkish court today condemning journalists to prison is a major threat to media freedom in Turkey, said OSCE Parliamentary Assembly human rights committee Chair Ignacio Sanchez Amor (MP, Spain). He said that the ruling to punish six imprisoned defendants for attempting to disrupt the constitutional order could violate OSCE commitments including the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

“Although no real proof was provided of the journalists’ involvement in the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016, these journalists are being condemned to aggravated life in prison. The disproportionate harshness of this punishment is compounded by the failure of the court to observe a relevant ruling of the Constitutional Court, which raises fundamental questions about the independence of the judiciary. With the clear appearance of politicized decisions, I can’t help but call into question the ability of the judiciary to uphold constitutional principles in Turkey,” said Sanchez Amor.

“I urge Turkey to reverse this decision and restore due process of law,” he added.

Sanchez Amor has participated in several high-level OSCE visits to Turkey since July last year related to the situation in the country following the coup attempt. OSCE PA leaders have consistently stressed their solidarity with the Turkish people in their fight for the preservation of democratic institutions following the attempted seizure of power.