The ECPMF welcomes the release of journalist Deniz Yücel - and now #FreeThemAll!

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German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel will be released after being held in Turkish prison for one year without being indicted. Scores of other journalists in Turkish jails still wait for proper proceedings.

Deniz Yücel: free after 368 days in prison

The German government has confirmed that German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel will be released from Silivri prison. "We are relieved and happy about the news," says ECMPF’s managing director, Lutz Kinkel. "Yücel‘s release is the result of a joint effort by politicians, journalists, and NGOs, who never ceased raising awareness for the case and putting pressure on the Turkish government." Yücel was held prisoner in Turkey for one year without ever being indicted. The indictment that became known today accuses him of supporting terrorism and foresees a maximum sentence of 18 years. These charges are unfounded and of course must be dropped.

"There is no rule of law in Turkey, not anymore," Kinkel says, looking at the scores of other journalists in Turkish jails waiting for proper proceedings. "As much as we are welcoming Yücel’s release, this individual decision does not detract from the fact that journalists in Turkey are intimidated and persecuted," says Kinkel. It is estimated that more than 150 journalists are still in prison in Turkey.

Just two hours after the good news about Yücel broke, the apalling news reached us that Mehmet Altan, Ahmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak were sentenced to life. Also in Silivri prison. "There is no sign that president Erdogan will change his repressive policy against journalists or suddenly find his respect for media freedom. The draconian and unfounded penalties are proving that", Kinkel adds. "Clearly, the release of Yücel is a sign of relaxation in the tense relationship between Turkey and Germany. This is about politics, not about justice or even media freedom".

The ECPMF is raising awareness and provides legal aid for journalists who are prosecuted in Turkey and elsewhere in Europe. In October 2017, the Medienstiftung der Sparkasse Leipzig awarded Yücel the Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media, which was accepted by his sister.

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Source information: This article was originally published by the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom –