Turkish court sentences journalist Deniz Yücel to 2 years, 9 months in prison

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German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel (R) arrives at his home with his wife Dilek Mayatürk in Istanbul on February 16, 2018 following his release from prison. Turkey ordered the release of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, held for more than a year without charge, which could remove a major hurdle to repairing ties between Ankara and Berlin. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

A court in İstanbul handed down a prison sentence of 2 years, 9 months, 22 days to German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel on charges of “disseminating terrorist propaganda,” Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported.

The former Turkey correspondent of the Die Welt newspaper, who was tried in absentia, was acquitted of the charges of provoking hatred and enmity among the public.

İstanbul prosecutors were seeking up to 15 years, three months for Yücel who was detained and arrested in February 2017. He remained imprisoned until February 2018, which led to a rift between the Turkish and German governments, with Berlin using diplomatic channels to secure his release.

After his release, he returned to Germany where he published a book recounting his detention in Turkey, and in May 2019 he testified before a Berlin court, revealing the torture and ill-treatment he was exposed to during his detention. Yücel said he holds Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally responsible for the abuse he endured.

Turkey has been described by observers as one of the biggest jailers of journalists in the world. The country ranked 154th out of 180 countries in the 2020 Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders.

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