Austrian journalist acquitted of terror charges in Turkey

Max Zirngast (PHOTO: CNN)

An Austrian student and journalist says a Turkish court has acquitted him and two others of terrorism-related charges, The Associated Press reported.

Max Zirngast was taken into custody in September 2018 after Turkey accused him and two other people of membership in an armed terrorist organization. They were accused of links to the Turkish Communist Party/Kıvılcım. If convicted, Zirngast could have faced a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

The 29-year-old confirmed his acquittal to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Zirngast, who has contributed to left-wing publications and was studying political science, was released from pre-trial detention in December.

Ties between Turkey and the European Union have been strained over the arrests of foreign journalists and others in Turkey.

Austria’s government had demanded Zirngast’s release.

Zirngast recently completed his studies in the areas of political science and philosophy at Ankara’s Middle Eastern Technical University (METU). His articles were being published in the left-leaning German magazine re:volt before his detention.

According to re:volt, Zirngast has lived in Turkey for several years, where he works and had pursued his studies.

report by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) titled “The Clampdown on Foreign Journalists in Turkey” explains in detail how reporters from other countries face serious obstacles in Turkey that at times suggest a deliberate, systematic and calibrated policy by the government is, in fact, being implemented.

SCF has also compiled 34 cases in which foreign journalists in Turkey faced detention, jailing, denial of residence permit extensions, cancelation of accreditation, deportation, prohibition on entering Turkey, discrediting and finger-pointing in a list in a searchable database format. (SCF with

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