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Last two OdaTV defendants 'released'

Rally outside the Istanbul court with Patrick Le Hyaric, French MEP   -  © Private

16 December 2013

The last two defendants held in the OdaTV trial were released at the end of the hearing in Istanbul’s 16th High Criminal Court on Thursday 12 December. However, both defendants, journalist and writer Professor Yalçin Kücük and former police chief Hanefi Avci will remain in jail as they are serving sentences in connection with other cases.

The day started with a demonstration and rally outside the court in support of all the defendants, in snow and freezing conditions. The rally was addressed by Patrick Le Hyaric a Left Front French MEP and NUJ member Barry White representing the European Federation of Journalists.

In addition to Hyaric, who is also Director of L’Humanite whose newspaper had adopted Oda TV owner Soner Yalçin, the trial was attended by Daniele Lebail a French regional councillor and Syluie Jan head of the French Kurdish Friendship Association.

Other OdaTV journalists who have also been on trial for over two and a half years on terrorist related charges have been released over the period. All will return to court for a further hearing on 1 April 2014. Among them is Muyesser Yildiz, the journalist adopted by the NUJ. Oda TV is an online news portal known for its fierce criticism of government policies.

Commenting on the outcome, Barry White said that the decision showed that none of the defendants had a case to answer and the charges against them should be dropped immediately.

"Until that happens we will continue to show our solidarity with the defendants as well as to the sixty journalists currently in prison in other cases and those journalists currently facing charges in other trials."

Tags: , press freedom, solidarity, turkey, detention