Deniz Yücel, German Die Welt newspaper’s correspondent in Turkey, was arrested in February 2017 in connection with a probe into the leaked e-mails of Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law. Kept in detention in İstanbul Security Directorate for 13 days, Die Welt newspaper reporter to Turkey, Deniz Yücel, was brought to İstanbul Justice Palace in Çağlayan on February 27 by İstanbul Organized Crimes Department units.
After being arrested for one year, Deniz Yücel was released on February 16, 2018 and left Turkey for Germany. The 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul accepted the indictment which formally opened trial proceedings, and ruled to release him pending trial. Yücel is being charged with “terrorism propaganda” and “inciting the public to hatred and animosity” for 18 years in prison.
Yücel’s lawyers have filed applications on his behalf to both the Turkish Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
Yücel also filed TL 2.9 million lawsuit against Turkey before the Turkish courts, on the grounds that he was unjustly imprisoned. However, the İstanbul 17th High Criminal Court has rejected the lawsuit for damages.
On 28 June, 2019, the Constitutional Court has ruled that the arrest of journalist Deniz Yücel has violated his “personal freedom and security” and “freedom of expression and press.”
On his testimony he gave in Berlin, he said that he was tortured while being held in pretrial detention.
The 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul ruled that Yücel’s statement shall be waited for and adjourned the hearing to October 17, 2019.
Fifth hearing of the trial in which Deniz Yücel faces “Propandasing for the PKK” and “inciting the public to hatred and animosity”charges was held at İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court on October 17, 2019.
Journalist Deniz Yücel had presented his defense statement on May 10 in Berlin and the judge noted that Yücel’s defense has finally been received by the court and was officially added to the case-file. Yücel’s lawyer Veysel Ok requested the court to seek the prosecutor’s final opinion.
The prosecutor requested additional time to prepare the final opinion as to accusations. The court accepted the prosecution’s request and adjourned the trial until February 13, 2020 (17 October).
At the hearing held on 13 February, the court accepted the attorney Ok’s request for time for defense, the trial was adjourned until April 2 (13 February).
Although a decision was expected as stated by Yücel’s lawyer, the trial was adjourned until July 16. (24 June)
At the hearing held on June 14, the prosecutor’s office repeated its opinion on Yücel to be sentenced with both charges, attorney Ok requested the acquittal of his client in accordance with The Constitutional Court judgement.
The court acquitted Yücel of “inciting people into hatred and animosity” but sentenced him to 2 years, 9 months and 22 days imprisonment for “propagandizing for the PKK/KCK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party / Kurdistan Communities Union) armed terrorist organization through the media.”
The court also ruled that a criminal complaint shall be filed against Yücel for “insulting the president” and “defaming the state, government, judicial organs and security organization of the Republic of Turkey” over his two articles published in 2016 in Die Welt.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) gave a ruling of “rights violation” regarding the arrest of Die Welt newspaper’s former Turkey Correspondent Deniz Yücel, who had been held in prison for 367 days.
The ECtHR concluded that his freedom of expression and right to liberty and security were violated and ruled that Turkey should pay 13,300 Euro in damages (January 25).