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Turkish court releases Austrian journalist Max Zirngast from pre-trial detention

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An Ankara court on Monday released Austrian journalist Max Zirngast, who has been in pre-trial detention on terrorism charges, after accepting an indictment against the journalist.

Zirngast, who has been under arrest since September, was released pending trial according to the Hürriyet newspaper.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz had called the detention of Zirngast on terrorism charges in Turkey “unacceptable” and demanded his immediate release from prison.

A court in Ankara ruled on Sept. 21 to arrest Zirngast, who was detained by police on Sept. 11, for alleged membership in the leftist TKP/Kıvılcım (Turkish Communist Party/ Kıvılcım) terrorist organization.

The Austrian chancellor in addition said Turkey’s actions in other cases are also unacceptable, adding that there are “too many people” in the country who are wrongfully detained.

Following Zirngast’s arrest, Kurz asked Ankara to disclose the reasons that led to the journalist’s arrest and present the concrete evidence against him that required his imprisonment.

In an op-ed he wrote for The Washington Post, Zirngast said he was interrogated by Turkish prosecutors due to books found in his house and an article he wrote for the US magazine Jacobin. He said he was accused of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in that article.

The journalist 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 pursues his studies.

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