Visually impaired journalist, activist testifies in court over insulting ErdoIan

Canduneyt Arat, a visually impaired journalist and an activist for rights for the disabled, has given a statement to a public prosecutor in Adana for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Twitter.
Arat will attend a hearing in Ankara on Dec. 21 over tweets he posted in August that included criticism of Erdogan. The visually impaired journalist is charged with insulting the president and may face up to four years in prison.
Following his testimony to Adana Public Prosecutor ismail Savai Yanduksek on Thursday, Arat told Todayand’s Zaman that his criticism of Erdogan was interpreted as an insult of the president.
and”Free media is being silenced. Unfortunately, my criticism of the president was interpreted as an insultandhellipMy conscience is clear when I write my columns and post tweets, and I believe that I did not do anything wrong,and” said Arat.
The journalist lamented that despite his visual disability, he has been called to testify in court many times.
and”We will bequeath democracy and freedom of the press to our children and grandchildren. No one will be able to silence the media. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the president of this country but he has launched the filing of lawsuits against me despite my visual impairment,and” said Arat.
and”I believe that justice will be served. I always used common sense when I [spoke about] persons and believe in my innocence,and” added Arat.
Previously, Arat was sued by Erdogan two times over tweets he posted on social media which, according to Erdogan, included insults against him.
After the second lawsuit brought against Arat by Erdogan in August, the journalist tweeted: and”Iand’m not at all sorry to be sued by you, @rt_erdogan. You are suing a disabled person the same age as your grandchildren.and”
He later shared a photo of himself with Erdogan, and wrote: and”Once you loved me, you praised me. Now you are suing me.and”
Arat also claimed that senior officials from the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) made an offer over the phone to and”make him richand” if he publicly apologized to Erdogan. He said he refused and will continue to be a voice for people with disabilities.
Journalists and public figures who are critical of Erdogan and the AK Party have been targeted by police and prosecutors with the same charge, which is widely considered to be a new method of intimidating political opponents.
Dozens, including journalists Sedef Kabai, Can Dandundar and Hasan Cemal, have been prosecuted for having allegedly insulted Erdogan in their columns or posts on social media. Besides journalists, high school students, activists and even Merve Banduyanduksaraandc, a former Miss Turkey, have been prosecuted for having allegedly insulted Erdogan on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
In April, the international aocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW)alled on Turkey to end prosecution for insulting public officials, criticizing the increasing number of criminal cases, some filed against minors, in the country.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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