Deniz Yücel, who had been in pretrial detention without an indictment since February 2017, is freed pending trial
An Istanbul court on February 16, 2018, ruled to release Deniz Yücel, German Die Welt newspaper’s correspondent in Turkey who had been in pretrial detention in Istanbul’s Silivri Prison since February 2017 without any charges brought against him, after a long-awaited indictment against the journalist has been prepared.
Yücel’s release followed immediately on the heels of a February 15 meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım in Berlin.
Ahead of his meeting with Merkel, Yıldırım had hinted on Wednesday that the German-Turkish journalist could soon be freed from jail.
The two-and-a-half-page indictment, issued on February 13 by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and accepted by the 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul, seeks up to 18 years in prison for Yücel on charges of “conducting propaganda for FETÖ and PKK” as well as “inciting public hatred and enmity.”
The indictment against Yücel, in Turkish, can be seen here.
Yücel was arrested last February in connection with a probe into leaked e-mails of Berat Albayrak, Turkey’s energy minister and son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He was arrested as he went to a police station for questioning.
On February 27, 2017, 13 days after he was first arrested, the 9th Criminal Judicature of Peace of Istanbul ruled to jail Yücel pending trial on charges of “terrorism propaganda” and “inciting hatred and enmity” in his newspaper articles.
Yücel’s detention sparked diplomatic tension with Germany. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeatedly said that Yücel was a “German spy and a terrorist” and that he would not be extradited to Germany.
Yücel’s lawyers have filed applications on his behalf with both the Turkish Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.