Austrian writer released from custody, can’t leave Turkey

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — An Austrian student and journalist has been released from pre-trial detention in a Turkish prison but barred from leaving the country.

Austria’s apa news agency on Tuesday cited Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Peter Guschelbauer as saying 29-year-old Max Zirngast was released from the high-security Sincan 2 prison near Ankara.

Zirngast was taken into custody in September after Turkey accused him and two others of “membership in an armed terrorist organization.” They were accused of links to the Turkish Communist Party/Kivilcim. If convicted, Zirngast could get a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Zirngast has contributed to left-wing publications. He also is studying political science

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Ties between Turkey and the European Union have been strained over the arrests of foreign journalists and others in Turkey. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has demanded Zirngast’s release.

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