Istanbul court orders conditional release of German reporter, Tolu

A Turkish court on Monday ordered the release under judicial control of a German journalist and translator charged with membership of a banned radical leftist group, her lawyers said.

The court ruled that 33-year-old Mesale Tolu, who was initially detained in late April, would be released along with five remaining detainees in the case, the Law Office of the Oppressed, which is representing her, announced on Twitter.

Tolu had been charged with membership of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) which is banned in Turkey as a terror group.

But the prosecutor in her trial at the start of Monday’s hearing requested that Tolu and five others set be free, the Law Office of the Oppressed, which is representing her, said in a statement.

It did not specify if the prosecutors wanted the suspects to remain charged after their release. This means they would be free but under judicial control, meaning they have to report to the authorities on a regular basis.

Tolu, who worked as a reporter and translator for the leftwing ETHA news agency, told the Istanbul court that she was detained as part a crackdown on freedom of press in Turkey.

If convicted, she faces up to 15 years in jail.

“A fair verdict to be delivered by the judiciary will ease the conscience of the public opinion,” she was quoted as saying by the lawyers’ group.

The prosecutor’s call for her release was also confirmed to AFP by Heike Haensel, a German MP for the Die Linke party, who is following the trial in Istanbul.

The court was taking a break ahead of the judge’s decision.

Tolu is one of several German nationals detained under the state of emergency laws imposed in Turkey after the failed coup attempt last year, in a crackdown Berlin has criticized as excessive.

Her case is one of other thorny issues that stoked tensions between NATO allies Turkey and Germany.

In October, the court ruled to keep Tolu and five others behind bars, while eight were released pending trial.

SOURCE

thelocal.de

18 December, 2017

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