Veteran Turkish journalist Gursel freed on probation

Ankara (AFP) –


One of Turkey's best-known opposition journalists, Kadri Gursel, was sent back to prison but then released on probation Wednesday after an appeals court upheld his sentence for "helping terror groups", his lawyer said.

Gursel tweeted he had been released on probation.

His lawyer, Ilkan Koyuncu, confirmed it, saying that "happily, he was released this evening."

Gursel's detention earlier in the day related to a procedural issue, Koyuncu said.

Gursel was convicted last year with several colleagues from Cumhuriyet -- one of the few remaining dailies opposing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- as part of a crackdown on civil society that followed a failed coup in 2016.

He was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison but was later released pending an appeal.

Gursel said in an Instagram post on earlier Wednesday that he had arrived at the Istanbul courthouse to be "sent back to jail," having previously served 11 months in prison between 2016 and 2017.

Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled earlier this month that Gursel's rights to free expression and personal safety had been violated.

Gursel has been a journalist and columnist for three decades, writing for prominent newspapers such as Milliyet, and also worked for AFP between 1993 and 1997.