The first hearing of Die Welt newspaper Turkey reporter Deniz Yücel's compensation lawsuit against Turkey was held at İstanbul 17. High Criminal Court on 25 September, Tuesday. İstanbul Court rejected the case without presenting any reason in its decision.
Deniz Yücel spent almost 1 year in detention on "terrorist propaganda” and "inciting the public towards hatred and animosity” charges, before being released on February 16. Yücel's lawyer Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) Coordinator Veysel Ok filed a lawsuit on behalf of his client on 31 May, claiming nearly 3 million Turkish Liras (TL) in compensation.
Presiding judge Canel Rüzgar and panel judges Deniz Beştemir and Sevim Karacı rejected Yücel's case “which does not meet the legal conditions of a lawsuit” and stated that “details would be provided in the reasoned decision”.
Accountability in arbitrary arrests
Lawyer Veysel Ok gave a statement regarding the court decision after the hearing was over: “This lawsuit was aimed to settle accounts on the violation of the right to freedom of a journalist. The figures in the compensation case meant nothing, this trial was aimed to detect and prove the unlawful proceeding against Deniz Yücel. If the court had acted accordingly with the laws and international conventions that they are bound with, they wouldn't have rejected the case. However, this case is not over yet. We will appeal to this decision and follow this case until it is brought before the European Court of Human Rights. Our aim was to establish accountability of the judiciary, regarding arbitrary arrests. We will try to make this case a precedent for journalists and others who are under arrest unlawfully.”
Ok reminded that they were claiming 2 million 980 thousand TL in compensation, and added that this figure involved 1 million TL moral damages due to the violation of Yücel's right to freedom, 250 thousand TL material damages regarding Yücel's loss of 'possible income' whilst he was in detention, and finally all of his court expenses.
Accusations against Yücel
Deniz Yücel, who is a 44-year-old Turkish and German citizen was detained for almost 1 year in Turkey, without any indictment prepared about him. Yücel, who was released pending trial on 16 February 2018, left the country after his release. The first case hearing of Deniz Yücel was held in June and his request of acquittal was rejected. His next hearing will be held at İstanbul 32. High Criminal Court on 20 December. Prosecution requests 18 years of imprisonment for Yücel.