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Oct 22 2018

Communication with Austrian journalist in high-security Turkish prison is strictly limited - report

Max Zirngast, an Austrian journalist who writes for leftist Re:volt magazine, has been kept in a high-security prison in the Turkish capital Ankara since Sept. 11, but most of letters are slowly reaching him, FreeMaxZirngast solidarity campaign website reported.

A Turkish court has charged Zirngast, who has been living in Turkey since 2015, with membership of a terrorist organisation.

"Communication with him is difficult and strictly limited," the website said. "The letters that he was able to mail around September 28th are arriving only now – and only those which were mailed to Ankara. Similarly, letters sent to him from all around Turkey are slowly reaching him," the website said. But Zirngast has received none of the letter sent to him from abroad, the website said.

Zirngast's lawyer, Murat Yılmaz, said prison authorities read every letter before it is delivered to the prisoner and that can take up to 30 days.

For the last two weeks, Zirngast was able to talk to his family on the phone for 10 minutes a week. His lawyer also visits him every week for approximately one hour, the website said. But Zirngast is not allowed to bring any paper, pen, or anything written in advance, and he also cannot take anything from his lawyer, the website said.

"Max is also entitled to the weekly open visiting day and family members can apply for an additional closed visiting day," the website said. "Because Max and his family members are foreign citizens, they have to submit a very cumbersome visit application each time.”