© AFP archive | Protesters in Turkey rally for press freedom.
ISTANBUL - 26 April 2018: A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced 14 staff of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet to prison on terrorism charges and acquitted three, one of their lawyers said, in a case that has sparked global outrage over press freedom under Tayyip Erdogan.
The court handed down sentences ranging from 2 1/2 to 7 1/2 years to the Cumhuriyet staff, lawyer Ozden Ozdemir told Reuters. Another defendant in the case, who was not employed by the paper and had been charged for his activities on Twitter, got the stiffest sentence, 10 years, Ozdemir said.
The staff of the newspaper - long seen as a thorn in Erdogan's side and one of the few remaining voices critical of the government - were charged with supporting the network of Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric Ankara holds responsible for a failed 2016 coup attempt. They have denied the charges.
"This was absolutely not a lawful verdict. At the end, it is a political case," Ozdemir said.
The case is one of several high-profile trials seen as emblematic of the broader crackdown since Erdogan announced a state of emergency following the attempted coup.
The court also ruled the case against the prominent journalist Can Dundar, previously the newspaper's editor-in-chief, would continue separately, the Cumhuriyet reported.