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Court rules to keep Altan, Ilıcak and 3 others in prison during retrial

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The İstanbul 26th High Criminal Court on Tuesday ruled for a continuation of the incarceration of five defendants, including veteran journalists Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak, who stand accused of supporting a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The İstanbul court had previously handed down life sentences to Altan, Ilıcak, Mehmet Altan, Fevzi Yazıcı, Yakup Şimşek and Tuğrul Özşengül for allegedly “attempting to overthrow the government”; however, the Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the ruling.

In the subsequent retrial the court said the defendants would be charged with supporting the failed coup and links to the faith-based Gülen movement.

According to the indictment, the Altan brothers, Ilıcak and Özşengül were accused of supporting on TV a possible military coup before the attempt, whereas Yazıcı and Şimşek, an art director and a marketing executive, respectively, were held responsible for producing a TV commercial for the now-closed Zaman daily that allegedly called for a military coup.

Turkey accuses the movement of orchestrating the abortive putsch, although it strongly denies any involvement.

The travel ban imposed on Mehmet Altan, who was released from prison in June 2018 following a ruling by the Constitutional Court, was revoked.

The remaining defendants have been kept at jail since 2016. The next hearing in the retrial will be held on Nov. 4.

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