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Merkel slams ‘bitter’ detention of German journalist in Turkey

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a joint news conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, not seen. during their meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
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According to the DW,  Reporter Deniz Yücel has been placed in jail pending his trial on terrorism related charges. Scores of opposition journalists have been arrested amidst a crackdown on dissent by the government of President Erdogan.

 The outrage over the imprisonment of Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel herself to condemn the move in clear terms on Monday. Yücel, a reporter for Germany’s “Die Welt” newspaper, has been ordered to remain in custody pending his trial on terrorism charges.Merkel characterized the decision to keep Yücel in investigative custody “bitter and disappointing.”

THE MEASURE IS DISPROPORTIONATELY HARSH

“This measure is disproportionately harsh, especially given that Deniz Yücel presented himself to the Turkish justice system voluntarily and for the purpose of the investigation,” she said, adding that “the German government expects that the Turkish justice system keeps in mind the great importance that press freedom has in any democratic society in its treatment of the Yücel case.”

The 43-year-old journalist was arrested on February 14, the latest in a slew of opposition voices to find themselves before a judge as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cracks down on dissent.

Earlier, Merkel’s spokesman had called on Erdogan to respect the rule of law and treat Yücel with respect – comments that were characterized as far too mild by many critics.

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