Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Turkish journalist jailed before trial for Erdogan insult

ISTANBUL ( Associated Press) — A well-known Turkish journalist has been jailed in a trial for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his lawyer said.

Sedef Kabas was taken into custody after he cited a saying on television and social media referring to a bull. Under the insult law, tens of thousands have been prosecuted for targeting Erdogan since he became president in 2014 after more than a decade as prime minister.

Her lawyer, Ugur Poyraj, tweeted that she was formally arrested on Saturday while appearing in court in Istanbul. The judge accepted the prosecution’s argument that he had taken a flight risk.

Kabas, 53, has hosted several high-profile TV shows in a career spanning three decades.

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Police took him into custody at his home in Istanbul in the early hours of Saturday following his comments on Tele1 and Twitter.

Government figures condemned Kabas, while opposition politicians defended his right to free speech.

Numan Kurtulmas, deputy chief of the ruling party, tweeted: “Ugly and obscenely insulting the elected President of our country is indeed an attack on the national will.”

Opposition leader Meral Aksner used the hashtag in support of Kabas. “This mentality will go away and justice will come again in Turkey,” she wrote.

The charge of insulting the President carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

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Since 2014, more than 35,500 cases have been filed for insulting Erdogan, resulting in nearly 13,000 convictions, according to Justice Ministry figures.

Turkey has come under international pressure to change the law. In October, the European Court of Human Rights said that a person’s freedom of expression was violated when he was detained under a derogation law in 2017.

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