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Journalist, in poor health, is released pending trial

(BIANET/IFEX) - 23 February 2012 - As reported on 22 February, journalist Dogan Yurdakul, detained defendant in the Oda TV case, was released pending trial due to health reasons by the Istanbul 16th High Criminal Court. Yurdakul, 66, is suffering from hypertension, heart disease and kidney failure. During his time in prison, he also developed diabetes and a cyst on his right kidney.

In their application to the Istanbul 16th High Criminal Court, the journalist's lawyers emphasized that Yurdakul was at risk of developing life-threatening complications that could possibly lead to his death, and therefore requested his release.

Yurdakul, who was a coordinator for Oda TV, was taken into custody at his home in Ayranci (Ankara) on 3 March 2011. On 6 March, he was arrested by the order of a court on duty and taken to prison.

Yurdakul spent 11 months in a prison cell with journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener at the Silivri Prison a few miles west of Istanbul. At the ninth hearing of the Oda TV trial on 23 January 2011, there was an interesting conversation between Yurdakul and President Judge Mehmet Ekinci about the journalist's health condition.

Yurdakul had told judge Ekinci that he was taken to the Forensic Medicine Institute, where they decided to perform an angiogram. The judge, however, said that he had not received a report on the issue and would make a decision once the report was received. This was followed by a discussion on whether the court had the right to interpret a medical report.

Selcuk Kozagacli, the President of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (CHD), told BIANET that Yurdakul was severely ill and should be released from prison immediately.

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