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Turkish Court Orders Two Press Freedom Activists Released From Prison

  • Reuters

Demonstrators hold pictures of Ahmet Nesin, Sebnem Korur Fincanci and Erol Onderoglu during a protest against arrest of the three prominent campaigners for press freedom, in front of the pro-Kurdish Ozgur Gundem newspaper in Istanbul, Turkey, June 21, 2016.

Demonstrators hold pictures of Ahmet Nesin, Sebnem Korur Fincanci and Erol Onderoglu during a protest against arrest of the three prominent campaigners for press freedom, in front of the pro-Kurdish Ozgur Gundem newspaper in Istanbul, Turkey, June 21, 2016.

Turkey released two prominent press freedom activists from prison Thursday following international condemnation of their detention, but their prosecution on terrorism-related charges will proceed, a lawyer said.

Erol Onderoglu of Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières, or RSF) and Sebnem Korur Fincanci, president of Turkey's Human Rights Foundation, were freed by a court, lawyer Fikret Ilkiz told Reuters.

Journalist Ahmet Nesin, jailed with Fincanci and Onderoglu on June 20, remained in pre-trial detention, media reports said.

Turkey, a candidate for the European Union, ranks 151st out of 180 nations on RSF's World Press Freedom Index. RSF accuses Erdogan of an "offensive against Turkey's media" that includes censorship and harassment. Up to 30 journalists are in jail.

The indictment against the three activists calls for up to 14½ years in prison on charges of terrorist propaganda after they joined a "solidarity campaign" with 50 others to guest-edit the pro-Kurdish newspaper Ozgur Gundem for a day each.

Ozgur Gundem focuses on Turkey's conflict with Kurds fighting for autonomy and has faced scores of investigations, fines and the arrest of a dozen correspondents since 2014.

The government denies jailing journalists for their work, saying they are prosecuted for criminal wrongdoing.

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