Deniz Yucel: Journalist freed after year in Turkish prison

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In December, an Istanbul court released Turkish-born German journalist Mesale Tolu, who was held for over half a year on a charge of membership in the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), which is banned in Turkey as what Ankara calls a terror organization.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Yucel should be able to leave Turkey.

Deniz Yucel, a journalist for the German newspaper Die Welt, was arrested in Istanbul a year ago after reporting that the Turkish energy minister's email account had been hacked. He denies the accusations.

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.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Berlin said the Turkish courts were overloaded due to cases related to the 2016 defeated coup, but added he hoped a development regarding Yucel would take place soon.

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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. She noted, however, that that there were still some "not so prominent cases" of journalists in jail in Turkey.

She cautiously welcomed news of Mr Yucel's release, saying during a news conference in Berlin: "I'm pleased just as many, many others that he was able to leave jail today".

Turkey, the USA, and the European Union list the PKK as an armed terrorist organization, which has been raging an armed conflict against the Turkish state since the mid-1980s.

Yucel gave himself up to police previous year after initially taking refuge inside a German diplomatic compound in Istanbul following reports that a warrant had been issued for his arrest.

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

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