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Jailed Turkish journalist Altan awarded Germany’s Geschwister-Scholl Prize

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Jailed Turkish journalist and author Ahmet Altan, 69, has been announced as the recipient of Germany’s prestigious Geschwister-Scholl Prize, German news outlets reported on Monday.

Altan’s close friend, journalist Yasemin Çongar, will accept the award on his behalf at a ceremony on Monday at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.

A prominent journalist, Altan was arrested shortly after a July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. He was initially sentenced to life imprisonment in February 2018 for alleged links to the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding the coup attempt.

The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed putsch.

A Turkish court had released Altan on appeal in early November after three years in pretrial detention; however, he was rearrested a week later upon a prosecutor’s objection to the verdict.

The Bavarian branch of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association granted the prize to Altan for a book written in prison titled “I Will Never See the World Again” in which Altan talks about his arrest and pre-trial detention and his experiences with police and prosecutors.

The 10,000 euro prize commemorates Sophie and Hans Scholl, a sister and a brother who were members of the student resistance group Weiße Rose (White Rose) in Munich during the Nazi era and were later murdered by the National Socialists.

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