Dec 09 2017

Artists across the globe call for Yücel's release from Turkish prison

International artists joined the call for the release of German journalist Deniz Yücel, held in a Turkish jail for 300 days, German newspaper Die Welt, Yücel's employer, reported.

Nobel laureates J.M. Coetzee, Elfriede Jelinek, Svetlana Alexievich, Herta Müller and Orhan Pamuk; film directors Wim Wenders, Volker Schlöndorff and Fatih Akın; painters Gerhard Richter and Daniel Richter; and musicians Bono, Sting and Toten Hosen are among 200 people who signed the following statement:

Deniz Yücel will be in captivity for 300 days in Turkey as of December 10 — detained in a high security prison, without charge.

300 days are 300 days too much.

We demand a fair trial and freedom for Deniz Yücel and all other journalists detained for political reasons in Turkey.

Freedom, equality, fraternity — always and everywhere.

Yücel was initially detained for reporting on leaked emails of Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Prosecutors later arrested him for “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” after he interviewed a leader of the Kurdish insurgent group, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

A formal indictment, however, has not been submitted.



Yücel has been held in solitary confinement for most of the 300 days and has only recently been moved to a standard prison cell. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel confirmed the change in his detention status on Twitter, saying that Germany will “continue to spare no efforts to bring [Deniz Yücel] back home.”

More than 150 journalists remain in jail in Turkey, and at least 184 media outlets were closed by state of emergency decrees issued after last year’s coup attempt.