Verdict delayed in terror trial of German-Turkish journalist

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Deniz Yucel

A long-awaited verdict in the trial, in absentia, of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel on terrorism-related charges on Wednesday, was surprisingly delayed by an Istanbul court.

The judge said that ore time was needed to study the defence’s plea after Yucel’s lawyer, Veysel Ok, made his final arguments.

The next hearing was set for July 16. Yucel is accused of spreading terrorist propaganda for the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and sedition.

“I expect that he will be acquitted. Any other verdict would be unlawful prosecutor is seeking a sentence of 16 years in prison,” Ok said.

Yucel, the correspondent for German newspaper Die Welt, was imprisoned in the maximum-security Silivri prison in Istanbul from February 2017 to February 2018, without being charged.

His incarceration triggered a diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Berlin. Yucel was released in February 2018 and returned to Germany. The prosecutor included articles by Yucel published in Die Welt as evidence against him.

One of them was an interview with PKK commander Cemil Bayik. The PKK is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the EU, and the US.

The prosecutor accused Yucel of portraying the group as a legitimate and political organisation. Earlier, Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled in a unanimous decision that his year-long pre-trial detention was unlawful.

According to the country’s Apex Court, Yucel’s right to personal freedom and security, freedom of speech, as well as freedom of the press were violated, as such, ordered financial compensation.

The judges also said that Yucel’s interview with Bayik could not be interpreted as terrorist propaganda and criticised the fact that some of his reporting had been incorrectly translated into Turkish.

In February, the prosecutor had called for Yucel’s acquittal on accusations of having contacts with followers of U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of masterminding a coup attempt in 2016.

However, in the same court complex, a trial started against seven Turkish journalists and a civil servant for allegedly violating intelligence laws.

The case is related to unveiling the identities of and reporting about Turkish intelligence officers who were allegedly killed in Libya.

Meanwhile, six of the journalists had been in pre-trial detention since March. The seventh journalist was in Germany and the civil servant was also not in custody. (dpa/NAN)

– Jun. 24, 2020 @ 15:39 GMT |

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