Turkey: 6 journalists sentenced to life over failed coup

A court in Silivri, on the outskirts of Istanbul, convicted prominent journalists Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazli Ilicak and three other media sector employees of crimes against the state. (AFP)
Updated 16 February 2018
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Turkey: 6 journalists sentenced to life over failed coup

ISTANBUL: A court on Friday sentenced six journalists and media employees accused of involvement in Turkey’s 2016 failed coup attempt to life prison terms, the country’s state-run news agency reported.
Anadolu Agency said the court in Silivri, on the outskirts of Istanbul, convicted prominent journalists Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazli Ilicak and three other media sector employees of crimes against the state. One other defendant was acquitted.
They are the first journalists to be convicted over the July 15, 2016, coup, which Turkey says was orchestrated by a network led by US-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen. The cleric denies involvement. Their conviction came as another court in the same courthouse ordered German journalist Deniz Yucel — detained in Turkey for a year — released from jail pending trial.
The defendants, who are expected to appeal the ruling, were charged with attempts against Turkey’s constitution and membership in a terror organization. The group were employed by Gulen-linked media organizations but have rejected the charges, denying any involvement in the coup attempt.
More than 38,000 people, including journalists, are in jail as part of an ongoing large-scale government crackdown on Gulen’s network of followers, launched in the aftermath of the coup. More than 110,000 have been sacked from government jobs.
Ahmet Altan, a former newspaper chief editor, and his brother, Mehmet Altan — a columnist and academic — were accused of appearing together with veteran journalist Ilicak in a political debate show on a Gulen-linked television channel. Prosecutors deemed that their comments indicated they had prior knowledge of the coup attempt.
In January, Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled that Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay — another journalist being tried separately — should be released pending the outcome of their trials. But a lower court refused to implement the decision, raising concerns about rule of law in the country.


Arab Social Media Influencer Summit kicks off in Dubai

Updated 1 min 52 sec ago
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Arab Social Media Influencer Summit kicks off in Dubai

DUBAI: The Arab Social Media Influencers Summit (ASMIS) has begun at the Dubai World Trade Center, with social media influencers from all over the Arab region gathering together for networking, panels, and discussion. The event, organized by the Dubai Press Club, will include a number of celebrities and social media stars sharing their knowledge and experiences.

This is the third edition of the summit, which is also shaping up to be its biggest yet. The event features a star-studded guest list, with prominent names such as Lojain Omran, Ola Farahat, Hussain AlJasmi, and perhaps most notably, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, who is slated to deliver the keynote address.

“We are delighted to welcome an iconic Arab figure such as Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, who is also a well-known character in the field of humanitarian and charitable work with an emphasis on issues related to education and youth development,” said Mona Ganem Al Merri, President of Dubai Press Club and Chairperson of the ASMIS Organising Committee.

The event will also be including talks, or “Dardachat”, given by high-profile influencers. Huda and Mona Kattan, known for their highly-popular makeup brand Huda Beauty, will be talking about their extensive experiences in the field of building a beauty brand. Murad and Nataly Osmann, creators of the famous “#followmeto” project that went viral on Instagram, will also be discussing their influences and inspirations, and talking about their ascent to fame.

Featured panelists include Roaya Saleh; Bahraini restaurateur and founder of Villa Mamas restaurant, who will be sharing her experiences with the restaurant industry, Tracy Harmoush; fitness guru and adrenaline junkie, and Max of Arabia; the half-British, half-American social media star who lives in the UAE and speaks perfect Arabic.