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Nokta editor arrested while trying to flee to Greece along with seven people

Murat Çapan, a Nokta magazine editor who on Monday was sentenced to 22 years, six months for two cover stories, was detained along with seven other people while attempting to illegally leave Turkey for Greece.

According to the report, one purged academic, two purged teachers, a retired police chief and three children were in the same group as Çapan trying to leave the country from the Uzunköprü district of Edirne province in western Turkey.

The İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court handed down a sentence of 22 years, six months to both Cevheri Güven and Çapan, top editors of the Nokta magazine on Monday.

The court sentenced both editors to prison for “inciting people to armed revolt against the Turkish government.”

“Former court judges were dismissed, one of them was arrested, my lawyer was also arrested, if the new judges did not hand down a sentence of 22 years, six months, they would have been jailed,” Güven said in a message posted on Twitter on Monday.

Sharing two covers of the Nokta magazine, Güven said: “I have been sentenced to 22.5 years. If the death penalty is reinstated, ‘reis’ [President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] will get rid of all these numbers. Will he feed me in prison for 22.5 years instead of hanging me?”

Journalist Güven, who is currently living in exile, also said if he were to go to Turkey and surrender now, he would be freed at 60 years of age.

The court that ruled for the arrest of the two editors, one of whom is out of the country, also called for the destruction of old editions of Nokta, whose collection a court in the past had ordered.

Nokta, which specialized in in-depth investigative reporting, was closed by the government on July 27, 2016, along with 130 other media outlets.

An indictment prepared by an İstanbul prosecutor in April seeks three consecutive life sentences on coup charges for 30 individuals who include journalists and executives from the now-closed Zaman daily.

The Zaman daily, which was affiliated with the faith-based Gülen movement, was first seized by the Turkish government in March 2016 and then closed down by government decree in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Last week, the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for owner Burak Akbay and reporter Gökmen Ulu as well as executives Melda Olgun and Yonca Kaleli of leading opposition newspaper Sözcü over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.

The European Union on Friday expressed worries about an operation in İstanbul targeting Sözcü.

Last Monday Cumhuriyet’s website editor Oğuz Güven, who was detained on May 12 for a report that appeared on the daily’s website about the recent traffic death of Denizli Chief Prosecutor Mustafa Alper in Turkey’s western province of Denizli, was arrested by an Istanbul court.

According to a report issued by the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) on Friday, some 123 Turkish journalists are fugitives abroad, while 159 of them were in jail as of the end of April. (more on turkishminute)

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