Fiji Time: 11:28 AM on Monday 19 March

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Journalist on trial

Friday, October 13, 2017

ANKARA - A German journalist went on trial for terrorism charges in Turkey on Wednesday, saying she was innocent and demanding her immediate release, in a case that has damaged already sour relations with Berlin.

Mesale Tolu was detained in April, accused of being a member of a terrorist organisation and publishing terrorist propaganda. Her husband was also detained and their three-year-old son has been living with his mother in jail for the last five months.

Tolu is one of 18 people on trial accused of membership of the MLKP, a communist party with links to armed Kurdish groups. They face up to 20 years in jail.

"I have not committed any of the above mentioned crimes and have no connection with illegal organisations. I demand my release and my acquittal," Tolu told the court in Silivri, near Istanbul, Turkish media reported.

The court ordered that Tolu and five other defendants remain in jail pending trial, while releasing eight others. The next hearing will be on Dec. 18.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel demanded her release.

"We demand a fair trial, based on the rule of law. Above all, what matters now is speed so that Mesale Tolu can be released as soon as possible," he told Bild newspaper in an interview published on Wednesday.

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