Deutsche Welle: Turkey's prosecution of German journalist Mesale Tolu 'unlawful'11 October 2017 | 23:19 | FOCUS News Agency
The trial against German journalist and translator Mesale Tolu, who has been in a Turkish jail with her young son since April, has started in a courthouse on the outskirts of Istanbul. She has been accused of being a member of a terrorist organization and publishing terrorist propaganda.
In court, Tolu denied the charges and pleaded for her release and acquittal. She is one of 11 German nationals currently being detained in Turkey - among them fellow journalist Deniz Yucel and human rights campaigner Peter Steudtner.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel demanded on Wednesday that Tolu receive a "fair trial based on the rule of law." Speaking to German daily Bild newspaper, he said the trial "has to be fast so that Mesale Tolu will be released as soon as possible and can come back to Germany."
He said the German government would continue supporting Tolu during the trial, adding that he was personally stirred by the proceeding "because her little child is directly affected by the imprisonment."
The Turkish court on Wednesday confirmed that Tolu would not be released from custody during the trial as her lawyers requested.
DW spoke to her lawyer Ezgi Gungordu before the trial started.
DW: When and under what circumstances was Mesale Tolu arrested?
Ezgi Gungordu: Tolu was arrested on April 30 in a police house raid. She was charged on May 6 with being a "member of an armed terrorist organization" and "spreading terrorist propaganda." She has spent five and a half months in custody. She had been working as a reporter and translator for the news agency ETHA, which is not connected to armed actions. The indictment cites her membership in the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) as membership in a terrorist organization. In regards to ETHA, we see this as an effort to undermine journalism.
She is charged with being a member of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP). The evidence against her is alleged attendance of funerals and memorial services for party members such as Yeliz Erbay, Sirin Oter, Suphi Nejat Agirnasli and Ivana Hoffmann, who died in Syria. There are photos of her between December 17-25, 2013, at protests against government corruption. A magazine on Marxist-Leninist theory was found in her apartment, which is deemed to be evidence of her membership in the organization. The magazine is not prohibited, [and] even as a journalist, she could have a prohibited publication in her possession on research grounds.
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