The social media in Turkey warmly welcomed the decision to release two more journalists on bail. Murat Sabuncu and Ahmet Şik spent over a year behind bars in the trial on terror-related charges of staff from the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan showed his understanding the moment, the freeing of two journalists is seen as a test of press freedom under the current leader. Both Cumhuriyet’s journalists, editor-in-chief Sabuncu and reporter Şik were ordered to be freed by the judge after a day-long hearing.
Despite the leaving the jail, the journalists remain under the charge and on trial. One more detained suspect, the paper’s chairman Akin Atalay, was ordered to stay in jail. The three were the last remaining suspects in the case to be held ahead of a final verdict, leaving Atalay the sole suspect still behind bars.
Cumhuriyet case: is still not clear when the final verdict will be announced
The decision to release Sabuncu and Şik, delivered in the courthouse in Silivri outside Istanbul – part of a complex that also contains the prison where they are held – was greeted with cheers from supporters in the courtroom. Şik was seen weeping with emotion.
A total of 17 staff from Cumhuriyet face terror charges in the trial, which opened on 24 July. Others have been gradually freed over the last year. It is still not clear when the final verdict will be announced.
The next hearing in the trial was set for 16 March and the suspects still face up to 43 years in prison if convicted. This week,