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Turkey convicts German newspaper reporter of propaganda work

Turkey convicts German newspaper reporter of propaganda work

ISTANBUL (AP) — A Turkish court convicted a correspondent for Germany’s Die Welt newspaper Thursday of engaging in propaganda in favor of Kurdish rebels and sentenced him to two years and nine months in prison.

However, the court acquitted German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel of charges of sedition and of propagandizing for the network of a Turkish cleric who is accused of a masterminding a failed military coup in Turkey four years ago.

Yucel was arrested in Istanbul as part of a vast government clampdown in the wake of the July 2016 coup attempt and charged with propaganda on behalf terror groups, including the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. He was held in pretrial detention for a year and has since returned to Germany.

His case led to a diplomatic crisis with Germany, which accused Turkey of conducting “arbitrary arrests” of German citizens suspected of links to the PKK or the network led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The charges were based on Yucel’s reporting including an interview with a PKK commander. The journalist denied the charges and had requested his acquittal. He is expected to appeal the verdict.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has labeled Turkey one of the world's top jailers of journalists. The Journalists’ Union of Turkey says at least 76 journalists and media sector workers remain behind bars.

The Turkish government says the detentions are not based on the journalists’ work and that most stand accused of terror-related offenses.