Exiled journalist faces investigation on allegations of insult for sharing cartoon

Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into journalist in exile Can Dündar for posting a cartoon from a satirical magazine that allegedly targeted the country’s prosecutors, local media reported.

Dündar is accused of insulting of the Turkish nation, the republic and state agencies and organs as well as the president.

The investigation into the journalist, overseen by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, was sparked by a tweet from Dündar in which he shared a cartoon from the satirical Leman magazine.

The cartoon shows a group of people rejoicing about the arrival of a “super prosecutor,” who looks like “superman” with two files in his hands over which the words “corruption” and “bribery” are written. Speech bubbles show people saying, “The super prosecutor is finally coming,” “May the super prosecutor live long” and “We thought you’d never come.”

The cartoon criticizes the lack of prosecutors in the country willing to investigate claims made by a mafia boss about the alleged involvement of government officials in corruption and bribery.

In his tweet Dündar wrote, “Don’t wait in vain: That ‘super prosecutor’ will never come,” implying that no prosecutor would dare investigate government corruption in the country.

Critics of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party and its leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, accuse them of destroying judicial independence in the country and taking the judiciary under their control, leaving no room for prosecutors to investigate crimes allegedly committed by the government officials.

In response to the launch of the investigation, Dündar voiced surprise, tweeting that the Turkish government no longer recognizes any limits in its crackdown on outspoken journalists and initiates an investigation against a journalist simply for sharing a cartoon.

Dündar, former editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet daily, was arrested and jailed for 92 days for reporting on the interception of Syria-bound trucks allegedly belonging to Turkish intelligence. He was arrested on Nov. 26, 2015 and released on Feb. 26, 2016 following a Constitutional Court decision.

Shortly after his release and an attack on him, Dündar quit his position at Cumhuriyet and left Turkey as scores of other journalists under pressure have done. He has lived in Germany since June 2016.

An İstanbul court had tried him in connection with the Cumhuriyet story on the Turkish intelligence trucks allegedly carrying hidden weapons to opposition groups in Syria. He was sentenced to 27 years, six months on charges of political and military espionage and knowingly and willfully helping a terrorist organization, while the other charges were separated from the trial.

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