İstanbul, Turkey – Deniz Yücel, the Turkish correspondent for German newspaper Die Welt, appeared at İstanbul 17. High Criminal Court on the 25 September to present his case for compensation against the Turkish state. His case was rejected by the court, which provided no explanation for its decision.
Yücel spent almost 1 year in pre-trial detention while facing charges of distributing terrorist propaganda and inciting the public towards hatred and animosity. He was released from pre-trial detention on February 16. Yücel’s lawyer Veysel Ok, Co-Director of the Media and Law Studies Association, filed a compensation claim against the Turkish government requesting nearly 3 million Turkish Lira for his client – 1 million TL for the violation of Yücel’s freedom, 250,000 TL for the loss of possible income and the remainder to cover Yücel’s court expenses.
Upon the conclusion of the hearing, Ok made a statement to those present. “This lawsuit was aimed to settle accounts on the violation of the right to freedom of a journalist. The figures in the compensation case meant nothing, this trial was aimed to detect and prove the unlawful proceeding against Deniz Yücel. If the court had acted accordingly with the laws and international conventions that they are bound with, they wouldn’t have rejected the case. However, this case is not over yet. We will appeal to this decision and follow this case until it is brought before the European Court of Human Rights. Our aim was to establish accountability of the judiciary, regarding arbitrary arrests. We will try to make this case a precedent for journalists and others who are under arrest unlawfully.”
Yücel still faces the terrorism charges. He left the country after his release from pre-trial detention. The first hearing of the charges against him took place in June and was adjourned until December 20. His request for acquittal was rejected. He faces up to 18 years imprisonment.
Updated: December 3 2018