Turkish rap artist Ezhel acquitted in second drug case

Turkish rap artist Ezhel acquitted in second drug case

ISTANBUL – Demirören News Agency

Sercan İpekçioğlu, a.k.a Ezhel, with his mother Ulya Turgut. (Instagram photo)

Popular Turkish rapper Sercan İpekçioğlu, better known by his stage name Ezhel, was acquitted by a court in Istanbul in the second case in which he was accused of encouraging drug use.

Ezhel was represented by his lawyer Fuat Ekin in the hearing at Istanbul’s Asian side courthouse on Feb. 21.

“When the songs which are subject to litigation are evaluated entirely, it is clear that there was no specific intent to encourage drug use. All in all, it is a work of art,” Ekin told the court, describing Ezhel as a “modern bard.”

The court decided to acquit Ezhel on grounds that “elements of a crime have not occurred.”

Ezhel was arrested on May 24, 2018 on the same charges, facing up to 10 years behind bars. However, he was acquitted in the first hearing next month.

His arrest had led to widespread outcry in Turkey, with many supporters making the hashtag “#FreeEzhel” a trending topic on Twitter.

The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Office issued another indictment for Ezhel in July 2018 seeking up to five years in jail.

The allegations against him included a blood sample test which detected THC metabolite, the active substance of cannabis.

Some lyrics of Ezhel’s songs, such as “The brighter the lights, under the influence of marijuana, taking puffs,” were also brought forward in the hearings.

Born and raised in the Turkish capital Ankara, Ezhel made the ghettos of the city central features of his rap music. He defines his music style as “Anatolian Urban Core/Hip-Hop/Reggae-Dub/Trap.”

The video for his song “Şehrimin Tadı” (Taste of my City) received 31 million views on YouTube.