Cartoonist Musa Kart (centre) with his colleagues after the release. Photo Cumhuriyet
The 16th criminal chamber of the Supreme Court decided to suspend the execution of the sentences of the five journalists of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet. Their release is ordered. The acquittal comes after a long pilgrimage of appeals and in and out of prison.
Musa Kart, Güray Öz, Mustafa Kemal Güngör, Hakan Kara and Önder Çelik were released on Thursday 12 September. They were imprisoned in Kandira prison to serve sentences for “association with a terrorist organisation“.
Journalist Ahmet Sik, accused of collaboration with a terrorist organisation, had his charges amended and now faces a charge of propaganda for a terrorist organisation. For former newspaper accountant Emre Iper, who remains imprisoned, the court upheld the sentence.
Hunt for cartoonist
The 64-year-old Turkish cartoonist whom Erdogan is trying to imprison it is not the first time erdogan is trying to imprison, has been drawing for Cumhuriyet, the main opposition daily, for a quarter of a century he was arrested along with his colleagues after the failed coup in Turkey in July 2016 and accused of “terrorist activities”. They were facing up to 29 years in prison.
During one of Musa Kart’s admissions to prison, his cartoon space was “visited” by cartoonists from around the world as a message of solidarity and protest, in December 2016 by Australian cartoonist David Pope.
“It’s hard to live in countries that have lost their sense of humour”.
Earlier this year, Musa and his colleagues were still hoping that they could convince the Turkish police and prosecutor’s office to wait to hear the appeals of all Cumhuriyet newspaper workers , but they were denied that possibility forall those with shorter sentences and this year’s appeal failed in February this year. Since then, the imprisonment of Musa Kart and his colleagues was more than a possibility, thencame the news of an imminent arrest warrant and in April, all the defendants decided to turn themselves intogether at the Kocaeli court after the appeals court upheld the arbitrary convictions.
After his releasethe case, Musa Kart said:
“It is difficult to live in countries that have lost their sense of humour.And it is even more difficult to live in countries where everything is humour
. Unfortunately, we are going through a period where everything is humour. Reading our dossier, this is the message: in modern rule of law, people are first judged and then punished”.
Musa is very clear about this. They will continue to fight the legal battle. Musa is convinced, in Turkey“journalists are punished to create a climate of fear“.
“Jails will not break our stance or our laughter,” he added.
Cartoon of Sunday 07/10/16 in CTXT