Voter lands in jail for sharing photo of 2017 referendum vote

Voter lands in jail for sharing photo of 2017 referendum vote


An appeals court has upheld a three-month jail sentence for a man who had been found guilty for taking a photo of his ballot paper during the 2017 referendum and sharing it on social media.

Cihan Elçi, 45, had shared a photo of his “Yes” vote in the April 2017 referendum on one of his social media accounts.

Upon the complaint of one of his social media followers, prosecutors launched an investigation into Elçi, resulting in a court in the Seferihisar district of the Aegean province of İzmir to sentence him to three months in jail in October 2017.

During his interrogation, Elçi asserted that he shared his vote because of his love for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who led the “Yes” vote in the referendum won narrowly by his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to shift Turkey’s parliamentary governance system into an executive-presidential one.

Elçi appealed the local court’s verdict, but the İzmir Regional Court upheld the prison sentence.

Article 92 of the Law on Basic Provisions on Elections and Voter Registers stipulates that it is forbidden for a voter to enter a closed polling booth with video recorders or communication devices, such as cell phones and cameras.

Moreover, the instructions for elections published by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) emphasize that using recording or communication devices in the voting booth will result in penalties.