German journalist Mesale Tolu back in Istanbul court seeking acquittal

German journalist Mesale Tolu back in Istanbul court seeking acquittal
The German journalist of Turkish origin had previously spent months in pre-trial detention for allegedly belonging to a banned left-wing group.
2 min read
16 October, 2018
German journalist and translator, Mesale Tolu, outside the Caglayan courthouse [Getty]
A German journalist of Turkish background was back in court Tuesday in Istanbul for a hearing on belonging to the outlawed Marxist-Leninist Communist Party. 

Mesale Tolu told private Turkish Demiroren News Agency that this is the fourth hearing of the ongoing trial in which she and her husband are being tried jointly.

Tolu has been charged with engaging in extremist propaganda and being a member of the banned left-wing group.

She rejects the accusations.

Tolu spent months in pre-trial detention in Istanbul before being conditionally released in December. But her travel ban was only recently lifted in August amid a thaw in relations between Ankara and Berlin.

Tolu said it was not an easy decision to return to Turkey but said it would show respect for its judicial system which in turn might help the lifting of a travel ban imposed on her husband.

There has been no verdict yet in the trial.

"I can't really be happy about being able to leave, because I know that nothing has changed in the country where I was locked up," the 34-year-old told a news conference after landing at Stuttgart airport in August.

Tens of thousands of "colleagues, opposition figures, lawyers and students" remain behind bars, she noted, caught up in a mass crackdown following a failed 2016 coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

She was held in an Istanbul prison for nearly eight months, with her now three-year-old son staying with her for most of that time.

Eight German citizens were being held in Turkey as of August, along with several US citizens.

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