Detained journalist Yucel honored with prestigious Theodor-Wolff journalism prize | News | DW | 05.04.2017
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Detained journalist Yucel honored with prestigious Theodor-Wolff journalism prize

German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel has been honored for his contributions to press freedom. The correspondent for the German newspaper "Die Welt" has been imprisoned in Turkey on "terror propaganda" charges.

Germany's federal association of newspaper publishers (BDZV) announced on Wednesday that detained journalist Deniz Yucel would receive a special honorary award for his contributions to press freedom.

This special prize going to Yucel should be "awarded in the spirit of Theodor Wolff and as symbol for press freedom," which has been trampled on in Turkey and other places in the world," the BDZV committee said.

Deniz Yucel has been held in solitary confinement by Turkish authorities in Istanbul for six weeks on "terror propaganda" charges. He was one of many journalists that have been detained as part of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's political purge following last year's failed coup attempt.

The Theodor Wolff prize is considered the most prestigious award in the German news industry. It bears the name of the Jewish editor of the "Berliner Tageblatt" newspaper, who was forced to flee the Nazi regime in 1933. He was later arrested by Gestapo forces and died in the Berlin Jewish Hospital in 1943.

The BDZV's panel of judges said it would announce the other winners on June 21. 

The four awards up for grabs include the best local news story, best opinion piece and best news feature, as well as the theme of the year in news.

German Foreign Minister Gabriel calls for Yucel's immediate release

A speaker for German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Wednesday that Germany's top envoy was calling for Yucel's immediate release.

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The comments came after German Consul General Georg Birgelen was allowed a one-off visit with the detained correspondent on Tuesday. Senior German Foreign Ministry officials reported that Yucel was doing as well as can be expected after exactly 50 days behind bars in Turkey.

Gabriel said the visit was "a first step" but that improved support and conditions for Yucel were an immediate imperative. "We are working with the utmost urgency to secure another visit with Yucel," Gabriel's spokesperson said.

Turkish authorities issued an arrest warrant against Yucel in February, charging him with spreading propaganda on behalf the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and cleric Fethullah Gulen's movement, as well as sedition. Yucel's lawyers, who last week lodged an appeal with Turkey's Constitutional Court, maintain that Yucel's writing is protected by Turkey's press freedom and freedom of expression law.

dm/rc (dpa, epd, AFP)

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