Teacher sentenced to 7,5 years of imprisonment over ‘insulting’ Turkey’s Erdoğan

Teacher Fırat Erdem, who was working in Sason district of Turkey’s southeastern Batman province, was sentenced to 7 years, 7 months and 19 days of imprisonment for allegedly defaming state institutions and insulting Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

According to a report by Bianet on Wednesday, 3rd Chamber of Gaziantep Regional Court of Justice have approved the decision given by a court of first instance. President Erdoğan, former Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chair Devlet Bahçeli and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had been parties to the trial held at Batman 2nd High Criminal Court. Former Ankara mayor Melih Gökçek and Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Burhan Kuzu had also been present in the hearing as ‘victims.’

Teacher Erdem was detained on December 29, 2015 on charge of insulting President Erdoğan over his Facebook posts. Prosecutor demanded acquittal of Erdem on charges other than organization membership and insult. Chief Judge complied with the demand and ruled Erdem to be sent to jail on charge of insult.

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.

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.

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