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Defendants: Deniz Yücel

Media Outlet and Position: Die Welt – Journalist

Accusations: Making terrorist propaganda; Inciting public to hatred and animosity

Possible sentence: 4 to 18 years

Court: İstanbul 32. High Criminal Court

Case Background: 

Turkish authorities arrested Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel, a correspondent of the German newspaper Die Welt, on February 27, 2017, nearly two weeks after detaining him on allegations of spreading propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the movement headed by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Turkey’s government blames for the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

Yücel was released on February 16, 2018, pending trial, after more than a year in pretrial detention with no indictment prepared. The prosecution presented an indictment on the day of Yücel’s release. Yücel was released following a meeting between President Erdoğan and then German Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel.

Prior to his arrest, Yücel had reported on emails leaked by leftist hacker collective RedHack that purportedly were from the account of Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Yücel reportedly faces charges that carry up to eighteen years jail term.

During a hearing on June 28, 2018, the request for Yücel’s acquittal was rejected and the case adjourned until December 20, 2018. The court accepted the request for the journalist’s rogatory defense statement to be made from Germany, as he had returned to Germany after his release. At the same hearing, Yücel’s lawyer stated that Yücel continues to wait for a date to be set by German authorities for him to give his defense statement from Germany.

At a following hearing on April 11, 2019, Yücel’s lawyer requested the case be adjourned until after Yücel’s statement was delivered at a rogatory court in Berlin, on May 10, 2019. The court granted the request, and has set his next hearing for July 16, 2019.