The court also overturned the conviction of Nazlı Ilıcak, who was sentenced to 8 years and 9 months in prison for “aiding a terrorist organization” at the retrial
Novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan was released from the Silivri Prison on 14 April 2021 based on a decision by the Supreme Court of Appeals, which overturned the convictions of Altan and his co-defendant Nazlı Ilıcak, who were sentenced in November 2019 to 10 years and 6 months and 8 years and 9 months in prison, respectively, on the charge of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” under Article 220/7 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
The Court cited the trial court’s failure to apply the reductions prescribed by law in the respective sentences imposed on Altan and Ilıcak as the grounds for the reversal decision. Taking into consideration the grounds cited for the reversal and the time Altan spent in detention, the Supreme Court ordered Altan’s release.
The Supreme Court’s judgment, which, as of Wednesday night, was not uploaded on the National Judiciary Informatics System (UYAP), was made public by the state-run Anadolu Agency.
Novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan, his brother, columnist and professor of economics Mehmet Altan, journalist Nazlı Ilıcak, former Zaman staffers Fevzi Yazıcı and Yakup Şimşek and former Police Academy lecturer Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül were each sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment on the charge of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” in February 2018. The indictment alleged that all six had prior knowledge of the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016.
At the end of their retrial, ordered by the 16th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Istanbul 26th High Criminal Court acquitted Mehmet Altan but convicted Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” and ordering their release pending appeal. Accordingly, Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak were released from prison on 4 November 2019 after spending more than three years in detention on remand as part of the case.
However, eight days later, Ahmet Altan was rearrested at the request of the prosecutor who objected to Altan’s release.
Altan and Ilıcak’s co-defendants Yazıcı, Şimşek and Özşengül were convicted of “membership in a terrorist organization” at the retrial. They were each given prison sentences above 10 years and ordered to remain in behind bars. The Anadolu Agancy report did not include information on the Supreme Court of Appeals' decision concerning Yazıcı, Şimşek and Özşengül's sentences.