Court rules calling ErdoIan ’thief-murderer’ is freedom of speech

A court recently ruled that calling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan andquotthief-murdererandquot is not a crime and should be considered as an exercise of oneand’s right to free speech.
The andcanakkale-based court ruled for the acquittal of a member of the Communist Party (KP) who chanted the slogan, andquotThief-murderer Erdogan,andquot during a recent demonstration in which groups protested the arrest of a Turkish citizen on the charge of andquotinsulting Erdogan.and”
In its verdict, the court emphasized that no one can be punished for exercising their right to free speech.
In his defense, the man accused of insulting the president said he was a member of the KP and that he, along with other members of the party, had gathered to protest the previous arrests and detentions of those also charged with insulting the president. He took responsibility for chanting the slogan at the protest and for leading the group in chanting it.
andquotI called Erdogan a thief because of the Dec.17, 2013 corruption investigation. I called him a murderer because of those who were killed in Soma. I also called him a dictator because of his attitude and his way of treating people. I donand’t think I insulted him. I used my right to free speech. It is my democratic right,andquot he said in his defense.
The court ruled for his acquittal on the grounds that his remarks were an exercise of his right to free expression.
This is not the first ruling of its kind. Another court in Sinop had previously made a similar ruling, deciding that calling Erdogan andquotthief-murdererandquot is not an offense and acquitted six individuals who were tried on charges of insulting Erdogan during a demonstration staged to protest the Soma mining disaster in which 301 miners were killed in Soma, a town in the western province of Manisa, in May 2014.
However, dozens of people, including journalists Sedef Kabai, Hidayet Karaca and Mehmet Baransu as well as students, activists and even the former Miss Turkey, Merve Banduyanduksaraandc, have been prosecuted for insulting Erdogan on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Hundreds of people have been charged and some detained for insulting Erdogan since he was elected president in August 2014. These actions are widely considered a new way of intimidating political opponents.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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