Trial of imprisoned German activist Peter Steudtner commences in Turkey

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-25 22:42:36|Editor: yan
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BERLIN, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- The trial of German human rights activist Peter Steudtner commenced on Wednesday in Turkey.

Steudtner has been in Turkish custody for more than three months after being arrested on charges of being a member of a terrorist organization. Steudtner is being tried along with ten other defendants, all of whom face jail sentences of up to ten years if found guilty.

Crowds of demonstrators and journalists gathered in front of the court building under a large police presence.

Officials in Germany have repeatedly urged Turkey to release Steudtner, who is one of at least eleven German citizens currently being held in Turkish custody.

The incident has added to already severe strains on the relationship between Ankara and Berlin and has caused German policymakers to issue new travel guidelines warning tourists against the risk of being arbitrarily arrested in Turkey.

The Social Democratic Party of Germany's (SPD) Michael Roth, the German Foreign Office's state secretary, told public broadcaster ZDF on Wednesday that his government expected a "swift, fair trial".

Roth urged Turkey to demonstrate that it was "committed to the rule of law." The state secretary voiced optimism that Steudtner would be freed of the allegations against him for which there was "no evidence."

However, Greens politician Claudia Roth described it as a "scandal" that Steudtner's "completely fabricated" case had been admitted to a court trial in the first place.