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Press Freedom

Turkey seeks 16-year in jail for German reporter

February 14, 2020

Deniz Yücel, a German-Turkish journalist could face up to 16 years imprisonment. The Turkish public prosecutor has accused him of spreading PKK propaganda and provoking hate but some think the charges are "absurd."

Deniz Yücel wearing sunglasses
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Kappeler

The Turkish public prosecutor is seeking a 16-year jail sentence for German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel, said his lawyer on Thursday.

Yücel is accused of spreading propaganda for the Kurdistan People's Party (PKK) — a group which is outlawed in Turkey — and of provoking hatred and hostility.

The Turkish organization "Media and Law Studies Association" (MLSA) said the public prosecutor is also seeking a further lawsuit over claims Yücel insulted the president in an article he wrote in 2016.

Yücel, who was the Turkey correspondent for the German daily Die Welt at the time, was imprisoned in Turkey from February 2017 to February 2018, without being charged. His arrest and imprisonment triggered a diplomatic crisis between Berlin and Ankara, but he was eventually released and returned to Germany.

In addition to the charges brought against him, the Turkish government accused him of having contact with Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen who Ankara accuses of being behind a 2016 coup attempt.

Deniz Yücel is free: What game is Turkey playing?

Read more:Who is Deniz Yücel — and why is the German-Turkish journalist still on trial?

Yücel hits back at accusations

Yücel took to Twitter to comment on the charges made against him, accusing the public prosecutor of making up content he did not write.

Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled last year that Yücel's detention was unlawful, adding that his personal rights were violated, along with the freedom of the press.

Christian Mihr, head of the German branch of the organization Reporters without Borders , criticized the request of the prosecution and called for the Turkish judiciary to drop the "through and through absurd accusation." He added, "How long will this farce carry on for?"

The trial, which has been ongoing since 2018, is due to continue on April 2 but will take place in Yücel's absence. His lawyer, Veysel Ok, asked for more time to prepare the defense.

kmm/sms (dpa,epd)

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