An İstanbul prosecutor has requested that a Turkish-German journalist who is standing trial on terror-related charges be acquitted, Turkish Minute reported, citing a statement from the Coalition for Women in Journalism (CFWIJ).
The 14th hearing of the trial in which German-based journalist Meşale Tolu is being tried on charges of terrorist organization membership and spreading terrorist propaganda was held in İstanbul on Thursday.
Presenting its opinion, the prosecution recommended the acquittal of the journalist. The court, however, adjourned the trial to Dec. 24, 2021, accepting a request from the journalist’s lawyers for extra time to prepare their defense. The CFWIJ welcomed the prosecution’s decision, demanding the court take it into consideration before making its final ruling.
— Linda Hemby (@LindaHemby) September 16, 2021
The journalist faces a prison sentence of up to 25 years if convicted.
Tolu was arrested in İstanbul in April 2017 and was imprisoned for more than seven months. She had worked in Istanbul for the ETHA News Agency, among others. Her trial began in October 2017, after which Tolu was released on judicial probation. In August 2018 she was allowed to return to Germany after a travel ban imposed on her was lifted.
Turkish journalists are often targeted and jailed for their journalistic activities. Turkey is one of the world’s biggest jailers of professional journalists and ranked 153rd among 180 countries in terms of press freedom, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
According to the Stockholm Center for Freedom’s “Jailed and Wanted Journalists in Turkey” database, 174 journalists are behind bars in Turkey and 167 are wanted and either in exile or at large.