Prosecutors seek 18 years in prison for German-Turkish reporter Deniz Yucel
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A Turkish court has accepted an indictment seeking up to 18 years in prison for German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel and has released him from custody pending trial, state-run Anadolu news agency reported Friday.
Yucel, a reporter for Germany's Die Welt newspaper, has been released after being detained in Turkey a year ago, the paper said Friday.
Soon after the German foreign ministry confirmed his release, state-run Anadolu news agency reported that a Turkish court had accepted an indictment against Yucel and that prosecutors were seeking a prison sentence of up to 18 years.
Yucel was jailed on suspicion of spreading propaganda in support of a terrorist organisation and inciting violence. He has denied the accusations.
His high-profile case – and that of six other German citizens held in Turkey for what Germany considers political reasons – have badly soured relations between the two countries and became one of the biggest stumbling blocks to rebuilding ties between the governments of Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Germany, home to a 3-million-strong ethnic Turkish minority, has strongly criticised Erdogan’s rights record, especially after a mass crackdown in response to a failed coup against him in July 2016.
Many German newspapers marked Yucel’s first full year in custody without charge with frontpage stories Wednesday, when the #FreeDeniz campaign held a major solidarity event in Berlin. Supporters of Yucel and other jailed reporters drove through central Berlin in a loudly honking motorcade of several dozen cars and bicycles, decorated with red heart-shaped balloons, joined by a bus with members of rights group Amnesty International.
Yucel, 44, gave himself up to police on February 14, 2017, after initially taking refuge inside a German diplomatic compound in Istanbul when media reported an arrest warrant had been issued against him.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)