Rights group: Turkey newspaper case 'mockery of justice'

Turkish army soldiers stand guard outside a court where a trial of journalists and staff from the Cumhuriyet newspaper, accused of aiding terror organizations, resumed, in Silivri, Turkey, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. The trial against journalists and staff from Cumhuriyet newspaper staunchly opposed to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues in Istanbul, a case that has added to concerns over rights and freedoms in Turkey. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

ISTANBUL - A media advocacy group has accused Turkey's president of trying to silence the country's main opposition newspaper and free press as the second hearing of a trial against staff members of the paper began.

Christophe Deloire, the secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, has called the case against pro-secular Cumhuriyet newspaper "a mockery of justice." Deloire spoke to The Associated Press on Monday outside a prison on the outskirts of Istanbul where five Cumhuriyet staff members are being held in pre-trial detention.

Prosecutors have charged 19 staff members from the paper with allegedly aiding terror organizations, including Kurdish militants, a far-left group and the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the government blames for a failed coup last year. Gulen denies any involvement.

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