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German journalist and translator Mesale Tolu (file photo)

German journalist Mesale Tolu, who had been imprisoned in Istanbul on terror-related charges, returned to her home country and vowed to continue fighting for those “still not free” in Turkey.

"I may be here today, but hundreds of colleagues, opposition activists, lawyers, students -- 70,000 students are in prison -- are still not free," she told reporters on August 26 upon her arrival in Stuttgart.

Tolu, who was born to Turkish parents in Germany, was arrested in Turkey in 2017 on charges of terrorist propaganda and membership in the extreme-left MLKP party, which has been designated a terror organization by Ankara.

She denied the charges and has claimed "harassment" by the Turkish judicial system.

She was released from prison on December 18 but was barred from leaving the country until an Istanbul court on August 20 lifted a travel ban against her.

A trial for the 33-year-old Tolu, a journalist and translator for the leftist news agency ETHA, is still scheduled in Istanbul on October 16.

Tolu's support group, called Freiheit fuer Mesale Tolu (Freedom for Mesale Tolu), said it has been told her husband, Suat Corlu, who is facing similar charges, must remain in Turkey.

Tens of thousands of civil servants and journalists were detained after the failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters
Sergei Udaltsov

Russian opposition activist Sergei Udaltsov has been hospitalized again as he continued a nearly two-week hunger strike in prison.

Udaltsov’s wife, Anastasia, told Russian news agencies on August 26 that the activist was being treated by doctors for dehydration.

Udaltsov was sentenced to 30 days in jail earlier this month for burning portraits of Russian leaders during a protest against a government proposal to raise the national retirement age.

The proposal is deeply unpopular and has sparked a series of nationwide protests. It’s also helped to dent President Vladimir Putin’s popularity.

Udaltsov was previously hospitalized on August 19, five days into his hunger strike, when he was taken to a Moscow hospital, also suffering from dehydration.

Udaltsov and another activist, Leonid Razvozzhayev, were convicted in July 2014 of fomenting mass riots across Russia ahead of Putin's inauguration to a third term in 2012.

Last year, he finished a 4 1/2-year prison sentence for that conviction.

During his time in prison, spent mainly in a penal colony in central Tambov Province, he went on hunger strike several times.

Russian officials have warned for years that the pension age needs to be raised, otherwise the country’s demographics could severely impact government budgets.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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