Turkish court jails human rights activist over critical social media posts

A Turkish court has put Rozerin Zeri, a human rights activist of Armenian origin, in pretrial detention due to her social media posts deemed to be “propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization.”

According to a tweet posted by Acun Karadağ, a history teacher who was fired with a government decree issued by the Turkish government in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, Zeri was put behind bars late on Saturday because of Facebook posts that are critical of the Turkish government.

“Rozerin Zeri. She was arrested today due to her social media posts. She is the mother of a sick child. What kind of crime could she commit with a single tweet? She is innocent. What’s with the hurry? What are you trying to do? Enough is enough!” Karadağ tweeted.

The Turkish government has investigated thousands of social media accounts and taken legal action against hundreds of them since the start of a Turkish military operation in Afrin province in Syria. The Turkish Interior Ministry announced on February 26 that 845 people who criticized the Afrin operation on social media and participated in activities critical of it had been taken into custody.

The government has investigated more than 39,000 social media users and detained more than 3,000 of them, while the courts have arrested in excess of 1,000, according to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

The report stated that police have conducted technical investigations into some 16,000 of these social media accounts and then launched investigations into 9,600 of the users.

Moreover, scores of people in Turkey have been detained or arrested or are under investigation on allegations of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 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. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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