Turkey court releases jailed opposition journalist pending trial

Turkey court releases jailed opposition journalist pending trial

A Turkish court on Monday released an opposition journalist pending trial after five months of detention on charges of disclosing confidential information about the conflicts in Libya and Syria, a rights group said.

Muyesser Yildiz, news coordinator at the OdaTV online news site, was detained in June together with Ismail Dukel, who works for Tele1 TV Ankara.

Dukel was released a few days later but Yildiz had remained behind bars.

A court in the capital Ankara ordered Yildiz’s release Monday but barred her from leaving the country pending trial, the P24 rights group said.

Dukel is also banned from travelling abroad.

Both are accused of disclosing secret information that concern state interests. The next hearing is scheduled for January 6.

Turkish media said the journalists were accused of leaking information about Turkey’s war plans in Libya and Syria, adding that Yildiz held “critical phone talks” with military personnel about Turkey’s military units in Libya.

Turkey backs opposing factions looking to oust President Bashar al-Assad in Syria and has carried out three military incursions against ISIS extremist group and US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia, which Ankara views as a a terror group.

In Libya, Turkey supports the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), which forces were engaged in a bloody conflict with a rival administration dominated by military commander Khalifa Haftar prior to a landmark ceasefire agree signed last month.

Turkey is often accused by rights advocates of undermining press freedom by arresting journalists and shutting down media outlets.

The country is ranked 154th out of 180 on the press freedom index published by Reporters Without Borders.

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