Turkey police rearrest journalist Ahmet Altan

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Turkish police acting on a court order rearrested journalist and novelist Ahmet Altan on Tuesday, just a week after his release from prison over alleged links to the failed 2016 coup.

Altan and another veteran journalist Nazli Ilicak were released on November 4 despite having been convicted of “helping a terrorist group.”


The Istanbul court sentenced Altan to more than 10 years in jail, but ruled that he and Ilicak should be released under supervision after time already served - around three years each.

They were also forbidden from leaving the country.

But on Tuesday an arrest warrant was issued after the chief public prosecutor appealed against the decision to release Altan, state news agency Anadolu said.

Istanbul police said later that officers detained Altan at his home in the district of Kadikoy on the city’s Asian side.

Altan has been accused of having links to the outlawed movement of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of ordering the attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.

Gulen denies the accusation.

For their part, Ahmed Altan and Ilicak have denied any involvement in the failed coup, calling such accusations “grotesque.”

Last year both Altan and Ilicak were sentenced to life in prison, but a top appeals court quashed the verdict in July and ordered a retrial on a different charge.

Amnesty International’s Europe director, Marie Struthers, lambasted the “scandalous” move in a statement.

“It is impossible to see this decision as anything other than further punishment for his determination not to be silenced and it compounds an already shocking catalogue of injustice he has been subjected to,” Struthers said.

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