Turkish-German journalist released from jail yet faces travel ban

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PHOTO: ZDF

German-Turkish reporter Adil Demirci has been released from an İstanbul prison after months behind bars but the court has prohibited the 33-year-old from leaving Turkey as he faces charges of membership in a leftist terror group, Deutsche Welle reported on Thursday.

Demirci, who remained in jail for 10 months, still faces terrorism charges. Under the conditions of his release, he is required to regularly check in with Turkish police, stay in the İstanbul area and make no attempt to flee to Germany.

The defendant’s lawyer, Mustafa Pekoz, told DW that they had expected the court to prevent Demirci from traveling abroad upon his release from jail.

“We will appeal the decision at a higher court within a week,” Pekoz said. “We will do everything we can within the scope of legal possibility.”

The next hearing in Demirci’s trial has been scheduled for April 30 in İstanbul.

Prosecutors claim that Demirci is a member of the far-left Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), which Turkey labels a terrorist organization.

Demirci was employed in Cologne as a social worker and as a reporter for the Etkin Haber Ajansi (ETHA) news agency.

News of Demirci’s arrest was first reported by Meşale Tolu, who also works for ETHA. She, too, faced charges in Turkey.

Demirci’s family and friends set up the “Freedom for Adil Demirci” campaign in Cologne and held vigils and events demanding his release.

Demirci and a group of over 20 other people were accused of attending funerals of MLKP members and fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). Turkish officials view the YPG, which is fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria, as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is also considered a terrorist group.

Prosecutors also claim Demirci took part in “non-authorized demonstrations involving Molotov cocktails” between 2013 and 2016 and did so “in the name of the MLKP.”

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