BHRC has today received information that:

  • A judge reviewed an application for the re-arrest of Ahmet Altan, one of Turkey’s most well-known writers, just over a week after his release pending appeal on Monday November 4. 
  • Altan had in effect served over three years in pre-trial detention. 
  • The Prosecutor in the case sought his re-arrest, on the grounds that there was a flight risk despite him being subject to a travel ban. 
  • The office of the President and the Turkish Parliament intervened in the case and objected to the release of Ahmet Altan.
  • The writing of the final ruling on the objection was completed at 5 pm on November 12.
  • The judge did not provide the decision to Altan’s lawyer, who was asked to leave the office of the court secretariat earlier and told she can “find out tomorrow”.

Schona Jolly QC, Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England & Wales, who have been monitoring this trial, said:

“BHRC has expressed serious concerns throughout this trial both about the fairness of this trial and about the impact of such prosecution, based on hopeless grounds and without sufficient or credible evidence, on the right to free expression in Turkey. The welcome release of Ahmet Altan does not alter the fact that we consider there was not sufficient or proper basis for his conviction, or to hold him in pre-trial detention for over three years. Re-arresting him now, following his public criticism of the Turkish authorities upon his release, has all the appearance of a further abuse of power, by way of politically-motivated and/or judicial harassment.  In the wider context of the mass arrest and prosecution of journalists, civil society and political opponents – cases which BHRC has been observing – this step now appears to be part of a broader attempt to stifle and silence critical opposition and free expression in Turkey’s democracy, by using and abusing the legal process.”

For further information please read Article 19’s statement here: https://www.article19.org/resources/breaking-imminent-re-arrest-of-ahmet-altan-possible-as-judge-issues-decision-but-refuses-to-tell-novelists-lawyer/

BHRC has an MoU with Article 19 to monitor trials in Turkey.