Musa Kart Released From Jail, But Still On Trial For His Comics In Turkey

Turkish Cartoonist Musa Kart has been imprisoned since last November, swept up in a government crackdown following a failed coup the prior July. Kart, along with 16 other journalists that worked for the country's oldest newspaper, Cumhuriyet, were accused of participating in terrorism, a sham charge meant to punish the paper for criticizing the government and its dictator, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Over 50,000 people were arrested in the crackdown.

The Cumhuriyet journalists' trial began last week, with Kart defending comics in an impassioned opening statement, reprinted in full here. Today, Kart is free…for the time being.

Reported by Al Jazeera (via ComicsReporter), Kart and six others have been released under court supervision as the trial continues. Five others have been ordered to remain in prison until the trial ends (three others were never imprisoned, but still face trial, while the final two are fugitives).

The story has received international attention, largely focusing on Kart, but not as much as it deserves. Though Kart and some his colleagues walk free for now, it's not time to forget about this story yet. The situation must continue to be monitored, and international pressure applied on Turkey to do the right thing.

Amnesty international has a web page where you can send a message to Turkish deputy prime minister Bekir Bozdağ, urging him to free all of the imprisoned journalists.

Kart is due back in court on September 11th.

musa kart
A previous comic by Musa Kart that led to a 2014 arrest and acquittal.

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