Student given house arrest for allegedly ‘insulting’ President Erdogan on Twitter

University student Kardelen Arıtman.

A university student has been sentenced to house arrest for allegedly insulting Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by retweeting a post in Twitter.

According to sendika.org, university student Kardelen Arıtman was detained on Monday by police after she retweeted a tweet post that allegedly insulted President Erdoğan. Later the same day, she appeared in an Adana courtroom, where a judge sentenced her to house arrest with a curfew.

Scores of people in Turkey have been detained or arrested or are under investigation on allegations of insulting Erdoğan. 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.

According to figures released by the Ministry of Interior Affairs in December, 3,710 social media users had been investigated in the last six months of 2016, of whom 1,656 were arrested. A total of 1,203 of those investigations resulted in releases on probation.

Twitter’s latest government transparency report on March 2017 revealed the extent of the Turkish government crackdown on social media, making the country the leader in Twitter censorship. According to the report, the Turkish government made 493 requests for account information and 2,232 requests to remove accounts or content in the second half of 2016. It marked a 76 percent and 25 percent increase, respectively, from the first half of 2016.

Twitter says it didn’t comply with any of the information requests, and that 19 percent of the removal cases resulted in “some content [being] withheld.”

Over the past few years, Turkey’s regime under Erdoğan has cracked down on free speech and attempted to restrict internet and social media usage. In the second half of last year, according to the transparency report, it led the world in Twitter take down requests. The second country listed in the report (France or Brazil, depending on the specific metric used) wasn’t even close.

Turkey was also single-handedly accounted 844 out of 894 all court requests worldwide for removal of content on Twitter between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2016. As of the end of 2016, at least 10,000 people were under investigation on committing alleged crime of making terrorist propaganda and insulting senior state officials on social media.

According to figures released by the Ministry of Interior Affairs in December, 3,710 social media users had been investigated in the last six months of 2016, of whom 1,656 were arrested. A total of 1,203 of those investigations resulted in releases on probation. (SCF with turkeypruge.com) May 8, 2017

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