Turkish student fined 7,000 liras for ‘insulting’ prime minister during Gezi protests
BALIKESİR – Doğan News Agency
PM Erdoğan’s lawyers filed a criminal complaint against Atay over posts he shared on Twitter and Facebook during the summer’s Gezi protests. DHA PhotoA university student living in the northwestern province of Balıkesir of has been fined 7,080 liras for insulting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan via social media during the Gezi Park protests.
Yarkın Atay, 22, was facing up to three years in jail over accusations of violating the Law on Demonstrations and Meetings, as well as insulting a public officer, but the court in the Bandırma district of Balıkesir ruled that his punishment should be turned into a financial penalty, in the first hearing of the case on Dec. 11.
The court has deferred the announcement of Atay’s conviction, so long as he does not commit the same crime again. However, he will remain on probation for five years.
Atay, through his lawyers, said he would appeal the verdict to a higher court.
“I am not going to pay the money right now. They want me to stay out of protests, they want me to do nothing. But this is not possible because our country is going through tough times,” he said, adding that he would rather take the risk of paying a fine than stay at home.
Erdoğan’s lawyers had filed a criminal complaint against Atay over posts he shared on Twitter and Facebook during the summer’s Gezi protests.
“If you beat up lawyers inside it, you can stick Europe’s largest justice palace in your a**. It would be OK with me,” Atay wrote in one of his posts.
He also described the prime minister as a liar and provocateur, which formed the basis of the accusations against him.
The months-long unrest, during which six protesters and a police officer lost their lives and more than 8,000 people were injured, began as a peaceful sit-in protest in late May against the destroying of trees in Istanbul’s central Gezi Park, next to Taksim Square. After the police’s fierce intervention against protesters at the park, anti-government demonstrations and civil disobedience acts spread across the country.