Popular Turkish rap artist Ezhel faces trial for ‘drug use’
Popular Turkish rapper Ömer Sercan İpekçioğlu, better known by his stage name Ezhel, is facing trial on charges of “drug use.”
The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Office on Jan. 10 accused İpekçioğlu of “drug use” and sought jail time of up to five years.
The Istanbul 5th Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the prosecutor’s indictment.
From the samples taken from İpekçioğlu, within the scope of another investigation, drug use was detected, the indictment stated.
Istanbul prosecutors have sought jail time from two to five years on charges of “purchasing narcotics or stimulants for personal use, acquiescence, possession and use.”
This is not the first time Ezhel faces lawsuits related to drugs. On May 24, 2018, he was arrested on charges of “encouraging drug use” in his songs.
An indictment seeking up to 10 years jail time for the rap artist had been accepted on June 5, 2018, but he was acquitted in the first hearing.
His arrest had led to widespread outcry in Turkey, with many supporters making the hashtag “#FreeEzhel” a trending topic on Twitter and other Turkish musicians expressing support to him. Many have said Ezhel’s arrest was an attempt to censor his critical voice.
Another lawsuit was filed against Ezhel again on charges of “encouraging drug use in his songs” on July 11, 2018. The trial is still ongoing.