MLSA Co-Director Veysel Ok to receive Thomas Dehler Medal for work on media freedom

20 March 2019
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Lawyer Veysel Ok, who has defended dozens of journalists in Turkey who were prosecuted for their work, is going to receive Thomas Dehler Medal 2019, given in the honor of the first Minister fo Justice of the Federal Republic of Germany. Ok is awarded this prestigious medal for his work in advocating for freedom of speech and the rule of law in Turkey.

The medal will be presented in a ceremony that will be held in Munich on April 5. Lawyer Ok will receive his medal from Germany’s former Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger.

“Human rights lawyer Veysel Ok fights for the rule of law in Turkey like no other. He became known in Germany above all because he represented Welt correspondent Deniz Yücel in court. He also defends many other lesser known journalists. Veysel Ok fights fearlessly and also faces consequences, now he himself has been indictment,” noted an announcement from the Thomas Dehler Foundation

Formerly a lawyer for many prominent journalists in Turkey, including imprisoned former Taraf Editor-in Chief Ahmet Altan and columnist Şahin Alpay, Ok currently faces “denigrating the Turkish judiciary system” charges per Turkish Penal Code’s notorious Article 301 for an interview he has given in 2015.

As part of the Media and Law Studies Association's (MLSA) work, where he is a co-founder and currently co-director, Ok continues to defend 11 imprisoned journalists including Nedim Türfent, Ziya Ataman, Salih Turan, İdris Yılmaz and İdris Sayılgan and many other persecuted journalists and academics.

About the Thomas Dehler medal

As a lawyer, Thomas Dehler defended in court Jewish citizens during the Nazi regime and later became the first Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Germany. Dehler also served as a chairman of the Free Democratic Party and left a formidable legacy for defending Constitutional institutions throughout his political life. In light of his legacy, every year this medal is given to an individual who has achieved outstanding success in furthering the rule of law and contributing to the protection of the right to freedom of speech.