(New York, NY) – In response to a Turkish court’s decision to reverse a ruling granting provisional release to writer and journalist Ahmet Altan, Karin Karlekar, PEN America’s director of Free Expression at Risk Programs, issued the following statement. 

“The re-arrest of Ahmet Altan just days after his release is a disgrace and a horror.  A writer, a journalist, and an academic, Ahmet should never have been imprisoned to begin with; he has committed no crime. His release last week after more than three years in detention was a cause for hopeful celebration, but today we are faced again with the cruelty of a justice system that no longer upholds the rule of law. PEN America condemns this action and calls once again for Ahmet’s immediate release.”

Altan is a prominent Turkish journalist and novelist who was arrested alongside his brother in September 2016. They were wrongly charged with encouraging a failed coup in Turkey earlier that summer. Altan had been released November 4, but on Tuesday, an arrest warrant was issued.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

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