Former MP sentenced to suspended jail term for insulting Turkish PM
ANKARAA former opposition lawmaker has been sentenced to almost two years in prison for allegedly insulting Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, although the court subsequently suspended the sentence.
On Feb. 1, the Ankara 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance sentenced Hüseyin Aygün, a former Tunceli deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), to one year and nine months in prison for “insulting Prime Minister Davutoğlu” and for “inciting people to hatred and enmity” through messages he shared on Twitter in September 2015. The court suspended Aygün’s sentence due to his lack of a previous criminal record.
Aygün will be considered to have served his sentence if he displays “good behavior” by not purposefully committing a crime related to “insults” for one year and two months and related to “inciting people to hatred and enmity” for the following year. If not, he will be sent to prison.
“It is normal for us to criticize various interpretations of Islam. My expressions are within the purview of the freedom to criticize,” Aygün told the court. “I believe that the reputation of the judiciary should be protected. I stand behind my word.”
The former MP’s lawyers asked the court for Aygün’s acquittal, while one of them, Murat Yılmaz said: “Others are not being tried even though they have shared harsher messages. My client has been turned into a target for irritating the government. If [Aygün’s comments] are not accepted as criticism, then everybody in this hall will be convicted one day.”