Thirty Turkish journalists facing life sentence over links to US based Gulen

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has brought an indictment against 30 employees of the opposition Zaman newspaper, demanding they be sentenced to life imprisonment over alleged links to the movement of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, suspected by Ankara of masterminding the July 2016 coup attempt.

According to the Anadolu news agency, the indictment was sent to a court, which has 15 days to make a decision to start the trial process. The newspaper’s employees, including the management and reporters, are accused of involvement in the coup attempt and of being members in the “Fethullah Gulenist Terrorist Organisation”.

In March 2016, a Turkish court ordered the Feza Media Group, which includes opposition newspaper Zaman, Today’s Zaman daily and the Cihan news agency, to be placed under the management of government trustees. Following the July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, the media outlet was closed.

Turkey’s crackdown on journalists and restrictions on freedom of speech have been criticised by the international community and the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) organisation.