A Turkish court on Monday ordered the release of German journalist and translator Mesale Tolu pending trial in Istanbul, according to observers.
Heike Hänsel, a German lawmaker of the Left party attending the trial as an observer, tweeted that the court had allowed her release under the condition she adhere to a travel ban and compulsory registration.
Tolu was arrested in April for allegedly producing “terrorist propaganda” while working for a leftist news agency, a charge human rights groups have criticized as a targeted crackdown on free speech.
She has also been accused of being a “member of a terrorist organization,” namely Turkey’s left-wing extremist Marxist-Leninist Community Party. Tolu has repeatedly denied all charges leveled against her.
Following the announcement of her conditional release, German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr described it as a “great thing.”
The German government has called for her unconditional release. Chancellor spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday’s release marked “in no way an end to the case of Mesale Tolu.”
Five other detainees involved in the case were released on Monday alongside the 33-year-old journalist, according to media reports.
Release ‘all political prisoners’
German lawmaker Cem Özdemir of the Green party welcomed the decision, but warned that it meant little would change in the country. Instead, Özdemir called on Ankara to release “all political prisoners and German citizens.”
Tolu is one of several German journalists who have been imprisoned in Turkey for allegedly producing “terrorist propaganda,” including Deniz Yücel of Die Welt newspaper.
Relations between German and Turkey have taken a nosedive in the wake of a failed 2016 coup that saw Ankara launch a major crackdown on the security, defense, education and judicial sectors.
ls/ng (dpa, Reuters)