Turkish actress investigated over tweet on ‘rapes’ in Saudi Arabia

Turkish actress investigated over tweet on ‘rapes’ in Saudi Arabia

ISTANBUL
Turkish actress investigated over tweet on ‘rapes’ in Saudi Arabia

The Anadolu Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul launched an investigation on July 4 into a Turkish actress who opposed the death penalty by tweeting about the “record number of rape incidents” in the Saudi Arabian city of Medina, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

“If the death penalty was a solution, then the lands of Medina would not break records in the number of rape incidents,” Berna Laçin said in a tweet on July 3.

Laçin’s comments about Medina, which is the second-holiest city in Islam after Mecca, came after the Turkish public started to debate about reinstating the death penalty amid a wave of violent crimes in which a number of children and women were victimized.

In a statement on July 4, the prosecutor’s office said Laçin would be probed over claims she “insulted people’s religious values,” a charge that had previously led to jail sentences.

In 2016, two Turkish journalists were sentenced to two years in prison in a case the prosecutor argued that they “insulted people’s religious values,” when they had republished a cover of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo featuring an image of the Prophet Muhammad.

After a social media storm, Laçin defended herself, saying her comment was not about Islam, but modern Saudi Arabia, where capital punishment is a legal penalty.

“I was talking about the current social order of Medina. When I say Medina, why do you not think of the [Saudi] Arabian city instead of thinking of holiness? Calm down,” she said on her social media accounts.

“Would I be insulting Christians if I said something negative about Sweden?” the 48-year-old actress asked, adding that she was intentionally targeted by social media trolls to promote their pro-death penalty campaign.

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prosecutor, Death Penalty, Islam