Germany to get involved in jailed journalist Yücel’s case at ECtHR

Die Welt’s Turkey correspondent Deniz Yücel was arrested on baseless charges of disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization and inciting people to hatred and enmity.

Germany will support the arrested journalist Deniz Yücel’s case at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), demanding that Yücel be released, Die Welt reported on Tuesday.

German Chancellery head Peter Altmaier said in an interview with Die Welt that Turkish prosecutors had still not prepared an indictment about Yücel. As such a handling of the case is against the principles of a state of law, the German federal government will support the complaint filed to the ECtHR by the lawyer of Deniz Yücel, Altmaier said.

Journalist Yücel, who holds both German and Turkish citizenship, was arrested on Feb. 27 on charges of propaganda in support of a terrorist organization and inciting public violence, after first being detained on Feb. 14. Yücel, a journalist for the German newspaper Die Welt, faces up to 10.5 years in jail if convicted.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has also told Die Welt that Germany will not leave any legal procedure untried in the case of Yücel. This is why the German government will also present a declaration before the ECtHR and put its position very clear, Maas said.

Maas also called on the Turkish judiciary to present an indictment to them in the Yücel case, which lists the allegations against the journalist. So far, the German officials have only heard allegations that try “to defame Yücel as a terrorist,” Maas told Die Welt. Maas also noted that Yücel’s solitary confinement should be lifted, as the first step in the rule of law was to provide “humane imprisonment conditions.”

Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 264 journalists are now in jails as of July 18, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 240 are arrested pending trial, only 24 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 109 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

July 18, 2017

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