First Published: 2017-12-29

Turkey opposition daily says accountant released from jail
Accountant Emre Iper had been held for 267 days as one of the suspects in case that has raised concerns over press freedom in Turkey.
Middle East Online

17 current and former employees of Cumhuriyet are currently being tried on controversial terror charges.

ANKARA - A Turkish judge on Friday ordered the release from jail of the accountant of opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet after some nine months behind bars, the daily said.

Accountant Emre Iper has been held for 267 days as one of the suspects in a case that has raised concerns over press freedom under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A total of 17 current and former writers, cartoonists and executives from Cumhuriyet ("Republic") are currently being tried on controversial terror charges in a trial that began on July 24.

Most have already been released on judicial supervision, meaning they could walk free but remain charged and on trial.

With Iper's release there are now three of the most prominent suspects behind bars -- investigative journalist Ahmet Sik, the paper's chairman Akin Atalay and editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu.

Iper had been specifically accused of downloading a messaging app known as Bylock which the authorities say was used by the group of US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen who is blamed for the July 15, 2016 failed coup.

However the judge ruled that Iper should be freed as he had downloaded Bylock accidentally while accessing other sites, Cumhuriyet said. He remains under judicial control and it was not immediately clear at what time he would walk free after completing the formalities.

The news comes after prosecutors said this week that some 11,480 people could be in a similar position and downloaded Bylock unknowingly.

Prosecutors said that appears to have been a trick by the Gulen movement hoping to disguise the true users. Gulen denies any involvement in the coup bid.

The announcement raised expectations of a possible mass release of people arrested for downloading Bylock. Turkish media reports Friday said a new emergency decree was being prepared on the issue.

Over 50,000 people have been arrested in the mass post-coup bid crackdown, whose magnitude has been criticised by Turkey's Western allies.


Kurdish militia fire rockets at Turkish town

Sudan clamps down on journalists covering bread protests

Egypt's Sisi says will stand for re-election

Pence heads to Mideast despite Muslim, Christian anger

US to overtake Saudi as world’s second crude oil producer

Moroccans wary depreciation of dirham could raise cost of living, despite benefits

Deserted streets, terrified civilians after Turkey attacks Afrin

Iraqi, Kurdish leaders hold talks on bitter regional dispute

Russia-led Syria peace congress to be held January 30

Turkey launches new strikes on Kurdish targets in Syria

Assad regime says Syria a 'tourist' destination

Journalists arrested while reporting Sudan protests

Aid for millions of Palestinians hostage to politics

Lebanon thwarts holiday attacks using IS informant

Mortar fire wounds 14 in Syria mental hospital

Turkish military fires on Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin

More than 32,000 Yemenis displaced in intensified fighting

UN warns of "lost generation" in South Sudan's grinding conflict

Saudi's refined oil exports offset crude curbs

Turkey's EU minister rejects any option other than full membership

Tribal feuds spread fear in Iraq's Basra

Turkey says not reassured by US comments on border force

UN chief wants to revive Syria gas attack probe

US has no intention to build border force in Syria

Lebanese intelligence service may be spying using smartphones worldwide

Egypt's Sisi sacks intelligence chief

Trump dashes Netanyahu’s hope to move US embassy to Jerusalem

Cyprus denies bail for Israeli organ trafficker

Rising Yemen currency sparks hopes of relief

Turkish ministries to investigate underage pregnancy cover-up

Iraq PM launches online appeal for election allies

Iran central bank sees claim for billions from German stock market blocked

Iraq signs deal with BP to develop Kirkuk oil fields

Israeli occupation forces raid Jenin, kill Palestinian

HRW chief says 'Nobody should be forcibly returned to Libya'

IS poses threat to Iraq one month after 'liberation'

Seven years since ousting dictator, Tunisians still protest

Iran says Trump jeopardising Airbus deals

China says Iranian oil tanker wreck located

Sudan arrests communist leader after protests

Syrian opposition joins condemnation of US 'border force'

Israeli judge detains teen until trial for viral ‘slap video’

Arab league slams US freeze of Palestinian funding

Dubai billionaire to sell 15 percent Damac stake

Britain to put women at heart of peace work in Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan