German journalist freed from Turkish jail, pending trial

Yucel was jailed in February a year ago on suspicion of spreading propaganda in support of a terrorist organisation and inciting violence. Gulen denies the accusation.

Turkey should reverse the decision to jail the journalists for life, the United Nations and OSCE experts on media freedom said in a joint statement.

Official Anadolu Agency reported that the court accepted prosecutors' indictment seeking 18 years in jail for Yücel, and ruled for his release concerning his lengthy detention.

Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the court appeared to have set no conditions on Mr Yucel's release, and insisted it didn't result from any kind of deal between Berlin and Ankara.

Yucels lawyer and employer Die Welt had announced the decision to release the journalist, who was imprisoned in Silivri prison on the outskirts of Istanbul.

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Among the eight articles Turkish authorities used as proof of Yucel's propaganda there is one criticizing president Erdogan's concentration of power, and another interviewing the vice president of the PKK, considered by the Turkish government as a terrorist organization.

Government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said during a regular news conference on Friday that the release would be "an important first step" after massive diplomatic efforts.

In the indictment Yucel is accused of spreading propaganda in support of both Fethullah Gulen, the USA -based cleric accused by Ankara of plotting the failed coup, and also of the outlawed PKK group waging an insurgency in southeast Turkey. On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim for a fast and fair trial for the journalist who has not been formally accused of anything, reports Efe news.

Turkey says its crackdown since the coup attempt - with the arrest of some 50,000 people - is needed for security reasons.

  • Adam Floyd