Press Release: 19 November 2019
The PEN Centre Germany is following with great concern the fate of the Turkish writer and journalist Ahmet Altan, arrested in July 2016 for “supporting a terrorist organisation.” Although there was no evidence of the allegations, a court in Instanbul sentenced Altan to ten years and six months in prison.
Altan was conditionally released on 4 November 2019, but was re-arrested on 12 November 2019 after an appeal by the Attorney General’s Office. This Turkish judicial arbitrariness is solely politically motivated; it is contrary to any rule of law and reveals the despotic nature of the current Turkish regime. With Ahmet Altan, one of Turkey’s most famous critical voices is being silenced.
The Presidium of the German PEN Centre today declared the author Ahmet Altan to be an honorary member and expresses solidarity with him.
“We urge the responsible Turkish authorities to release our honorary member Ahmet Altan immediately and unconditionally from prison,” the PEN presidium announced. “His continued imprisonment is only politically justified and therefore neither acceptable nor justified. His conviction is contrary to the right to freedom of expression and therefore to the Charter of the International PEN.”
Previous honorary members of the German PEN Centre include Václav Havel and Liu Xiaobo. Current honorary PEN members include Anabel Hernández and Selahattin Demirtaş, Raif Badawi and Li Bifeng, who are still in prison.
Translated with help from www.DeepL.com/Translator