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Trial Starts For Turkish Journalists Charged With Terror Offenses


Protesters hold a banner reading "Cumhuriyet won't be silenced" as they march in Istanbul on July 24.

Seventeen employees from a Turkish opposition newspaper went on trial on July 24 on terrorism-related charges.

Most of the suspects have been in pretrial detention since they were detained in October 2016 under the state of emergency implemented after the failed coup in July that authorities blamed on U.S. based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The trial of journalists and managers from the secular Cumhuriyet newspaper has raised alarm over press freedoms under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

If convicted, the defendants face varying terms of up to 43 years in jail.

The Cumhuriyet employee faces charges of aiding terrorist organizations, including the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Gulen movement blacklisted by Ankara.

A joint statement from press freedom groups said "the case is intended to silence Cumhuriyet, one of the few remaining opposition voices in the country."

According to the P24 press freedom group, there are 166 journalists in jail in Turkey, most of whom were arrested under the state of emergency.

But Erdogan insisted this month that there were just "two real journalists" behind bars in Turkey.

Based on reproving by AFP and dpa
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