ISTANBUL -- A court in Istanbul released Soner Yalcin, a prominent journalist, from prison on Thursday after he had spent nearly two years behind bars, charged with plotting to overthrow the government with 12 other defendants.
Mr. Yalcin, the owner and editor of OdaTV, a news portal critical of the government, and 12 co-defendants are accused of acting as the media wing of what prosecutors call a terrorist network that aimed to topple the governing Justice and Development Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
All but two of the defendants have now been released from custody pending the outcome of their trial, which was adjourned until March 21.
The court freed Mr. Yalcin but barred him from traveling abroad and ordered him to report to a police station every week, the semiofficial Anatolian News Agency reported.
Television news reports showed Mr. Yalcin leaving the Silivri Prison on the outskirts of Istanbul, surrounded by supporters, including his son and wife.
"We do not write or think with the permission of anyone; we think and write freely," Mr. Yalcin said as he left for his home after midnight. "Some could think of bending or breaking pens of Yalcin and other honorable, noble journalists by throwing them into jail. However, we would not become that."
Defense lawyers have argued that the charges against the defendants were based on digitally fabricated evidence planted in OdaTV computers by a virus, and they have produced forensic reports from four independent organizations to support their assertions.
Two other prominent journalists, Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik, were released from custody in March by the same court after more than a year in jail.
Mr. Sener and Mr. Sik are investigative journalists who have written books critical of the government or a pro-Islamic network that supports the governing party. Many suspect that their arrests were part of an effort to silence the government's opponents.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent organization based in New York, says that 49 journalists are behind bars in Turkey, more than in any other country.
The government disputes that figure and insists that most of the jailed journalists were arrested for activities other than reporting.
The majority of such cases involve reporters and editors of Kurdish descent who have covered the government's conflict with Kurdish rebels, a struggle that has claimed more than 40,000 lives since the rebels took up arms in 1984.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.