Following the military coup attempt, on 10 September 2016, Ahmet Altan was taken into custody and was released with judicial control measures after 12 days. Right after his release, a warrant was issued against Ahmet Altan; he was arrested on September 23, 2016. The indictment lodged against 17 people, including Altan, was accepted in May 2017, with numerous charges including “overthrowing the constitutional order through violence and force” and “aiding a terrorist organization [FETÖ] without being its member.” According to the indictment, three aggravated life sentences (without the possibility of parole) and 7.5 to 15 years of imprisonment were requested.
On February 16, 2018, the first instance court, İstanbul 26th Heavy Penal Court, gace its decision and found Altan guilty of “overthrowing the Constitutional order through violence and force”, alongside Mehmet Altan, Nazlı Ilıcak, Fevzi Yazıcı, Yakup Şimşek and Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül.
This decision was upheld by the the 2nd Penal Chamber of İstanbul Regional Court of Justice on October 2, 2018. This decision was appealed.
On 3 May 2019, The Constitutional Court announced that it had found no violation in relation to numerous allegations stated by Ahmet Altan.
The 16th Penal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals, reversed the decision and concluded that Ahmet Altan was not guilty of overthrowing the constitutional order, rather, he was supposed to be sentenced due to aiding a terrorist organization [FETÖ] without being its member. Finally, the chamber rejected the request to be released of Ahmet Altan and other defendants.
Upon the decision of the Supreme Court to reverse the decision, İstanbul 26. Heavy Criminal Court found Ahmet Altan guilty on charge of “aiding a terrorist organization without being its member” and sentenced him to 10 years, 6 months in prison. Taking the duration he had spent in prison, the Court decided to release Altan. Ahmet Altan who was in pre-trial detention since September 23, 2016; he was released from Silivri Prison on November 5.
A few days later, the Public Prosecutor’s Office objected to the decision and İstanbul 27th High Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Altan, again. Altan’s lawyer Figen Çalıkuşu stressed that the decision of the İstanbul 26th High Criminal Court is a final verdict and cannot be objected to a higher court yet can only be reviewed through an appeal.
Altan is on pre-trial detention since 13 November, again.
The Constitutional Court has rejected the application that the right to personal liberty and security of Ahmet Altan, who was arrested again 8 days after being released, was violated on the grounds that his arrest was not lawful and that the court which ruled for his arrest was not independent and impartial (December 2).
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), on April 13, 2021, pronounced its judgement on novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan, who had been arrested since September 2016.
Altan was arrested over his statements during a TV program before the attempted coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016 and his three articles dated 2016. Put on trial for “coup”, he was first sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment in 2018; after the Court of Cassation overturned this verdict, he was then sentenced to 10 years, 6 months in prison on charge of “aiding the organization” (220/7). In its judgement on Ahmet Altan, the ECtHR has concluded that the following rights of Altan were violated: The right to liberty and security as per the Articles 5/1 and 5/5 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR); the right to fair and speedy proceedings as per the Article 5/4 of the ECHR; and freedom of expression as per the Article 10 of the ECHR. Ahmet Altan will be paid 16,000 Euro in non-pecuniary damages.
In the “attempted coup” lawsuit filed after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, Ahmet Altan was sentenced to 10 years, 6 months in prison and Nazlı Ilıcak was sentenced to 8 years, 9 months in prison on charge of “willingly and knowingly aiding the terrorist organization.” Completing its examination on the appeals against this verdict, the 16th Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation reversed this verdict and ruled that Ahmet Altan should be released. Altan was released on April 14, 2021 (April 14).