Turkish court rejects Yücel’s demand for damages arising from imprisonment

A Turkish court has rejected a German-Turkish journalist’s request for compensation for his yearlong imprisonment in Turkey, The Associated Press reported.

Deniz Yücel, a correspondent for Germany’s Die Welt daily, was detained as part of a Turkish government clampdown in the wake of a failed coup attempt in 2016. He was released from jail pending trial earlier this year and has since returned to Germany.

Lawyer Veysel Ok said Tuesday Yücel was seeking 2,980,000 Turkish Lira ($483,000) in damages for “his unjust and unlawful imprisonment.”

The court did not give a reason for its decision, Ok said and added that he would appeal the case at a higher court and take it to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary. Yücel was arrested on terrorism and propaganda charges which he denies.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 236 journalists and media workers were in jail as of September 20, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 168 were under arrest pending trial while only 68 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 147 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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