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German man released from prison in Turkey after serving 6 years on terror charges

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Patrick Kraicker, a 35-year-old German citizen, has been released from a prison near Ankara after serving more than six years on a terrorism-related conviction, German media outlet Tagesschau reported.

Kraicker was detained on the Turkish-Syrian border in March 2018 while he was allegedly attempting to cross into Syria. He was subsequently arrested and indicted on terrorism-related charges.

Patrick Kraicker

The Turkish authorities accused him of entering a restricted area and membership in a terrorist organization, seeking to join the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

The YPG is seen by the Turkish authorities as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and its Western allies, and is thus labelled as a terrorist organization.

A court in the southeastern province of Şırnak subsequently sentenced Kraicker, from the German town of Gießen, to more than six years in prison on conviction of terrorist organization membership.

Kraicker’s friends and family denied the charges and said he only wanted to hike in southeastern Turkey. Critics had seen political motives on Ankara’s part in his case and accused the German government of not doing enough for him.

Kraicker told German ARD radio in İstanbul that he was able to leave the prison near Ankara on Sunday morning after serving his time. He said he had to be fingerprinted at a police station and complete formalities before he is put in deportation detention to be returned to Germany.

It was not clear when Kraicker would be able to leave Turkey. Kraicker told the ARD on the phone that he was doing well and was happy.

Deniz Yücel, a German-Turkish journalist, was also jailed in Turkey from February 2017 to February 2018 on terrorism-related charges. His detention caused a rift between the Turkish and German governments, with Berlin using diplomatic channels for his release.

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