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Tolu appears in Istanbul court on ‘terror charges’

GERMAN Turkish journalist Mesale Tolu appeared in an Istanbul court today in a bid to clear her name of trumped-up terrorism charges.

She had formerly been held for seven months, having been accused of spreading terrorist propaganda and membership of a terrorist organisation, the banned Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP).

Ms Tolu hoped that travelling from Germany to attend the hearing might help lift a travel ban imposed on her husband Suat Corlu, a defendant in the same trial.

The EHTA journalist had her own travel ban lifted at the end of August and she returned to Germany with her young son. However, Mr Corlu is a Turkish citizen and was not allowed to leave the country.

Her appearance is not without risk: if convicted, Ms Tolu faces a possible 20-year prison sentence.

But she said it was important to attend the Istanbul hearing to clear her name and stand in solidarity with her husband.

“We will be sentenced together, from the same judge in the same trial. The judge let me go and not my husband, and if I do not show up, he’ll say: ‘We let Ms Tolu go, she’s not coming any more. Why should we let Mr Corlu go’?” she said.

“Of course it’s very important for my son that he can also be with his father. So I have to go back,” she said.

She sees the case as part of the wider attacks on press freedom in Turkey, which has jailed more journalists that any other country in the world.

“I’m not the only one who has experienced this, so maybe that’s why I feel so strongly. A tweet is enough to land you in jail,” she said.

  • The case was adjourned until January and Mr Corlu’s travel ban was lifted.

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