37-month prison sentence possible for Turkish teen over Erdoğan insult
KONYAA 16-year-old boy, who was detained on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, may receive a 37-month prison sentence, his lawyer has announced.
The teenager, identified only by his initials M.E.A, was taken away from his school in the Central Anatolian province of Konya last month and remained under custody for two days, in a move that many saw as an attempt to intimidate the opposition in Turkey.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had expressed his support for the detention, saying, “Everyone should show respect to the office of the president, whoever they are." Turkey's Justice Ministry, then, gave the required approval for the trial of the minor to go ahead this month.
"Now the court will decide for how many months my client will be jailed. If it does not apply any reductions, he can be jailed for some 37 months," said Barış İspir, a lawyer for M.E.A., according to a Doğan News Agency story published on Jan. 24.
The trial will start at the 3rd Children's Court in Konya on March 6.
"I went to school after I was released from prison," M.E.A said, adding that his teachers took a close interest in the issue and he did not face any difficulties. "I am happy to get my school report. I am now thinking of my studies, not the trial," he added.
M.E.A, who is a member of an online group called Democrat High School Students, had given a speech slamming Erdoğan and the government during a meeting organized on Dec. 23, 2014, to commemorate Lieutenant Mustafa Fehmi Kubilay, who was killed by a pro-sharia group in 1930 in the Aegean town of Menemen.