In response to a lower court in Turkey rejecting a ruling by the Constitutional Court requiring the release of two journalists from prison, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“When a lower court feels empowered to interpret the Constitution in direct contradiction to a ruling of the highest court in the land, government officials are acting outside the law and with complete impunity,” said Mike Abramowitz, the president of Freedom House. “Journalists Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan—as well as dozens of others whose cases are implicitly covered by the Constitutional Court’s ruling—should be released immediately.”
On January 11, Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled that the detention of journalists Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan on charges related to a July 2016 coup attempt violated their rights. A lower court, however, has rejected the ruling in unprecedented fashion, arguing that the Constitutional Court does not have the power to review the merits of the case. Government officials had criticized the Constitutional Court’s ruling on similar grounds.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.