Jailed Turkish novelist-journalist Ahmet Altan fined TL 7,000 for “insulting Erdoğan”

Jailed Turkish journalist and novelist Ahmet Altan.

Renowned Turkish novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan, who has been behind the bars over coup charges for more than a year, was fined TL 7,000 [$2,500] for allegedly insulting Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday.

During the fifth hearing of the insult case, the court in charge has convicted Ahmet Altan and fined him TL 7,000.

“My intention is not to humiliate or insult him. It is rather to reveal a mistake he did. My words have nothing to do with the president’s personality. …I would criticize anyone with the same mistake,” Altan defended himself.

Scores of people in Turkey have been detained or arrested or are under investigation on allegations of insulting President Erdoğan over their social media posts. As of the end of 2016, at least 10,000 people were under investigation on suspicion of terrorist propaganda and insulting senior state officials on social media.

A total of 1,080 people were convicted of insulting Erdoğan in 2016, according to data from Turkey’s Justice Ministry. Data also showed that 4,936 cases were launched against people on charges of insult in 2016.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has showed that 242 journalists and media workers are in jails as of January 4, 2018, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 215 are arrested pending trial, only 27 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 138 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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