Jail time sought for insulting PM on web

Jail time sought for insulting PM on web

A public prosecutor has requested prison sentences of up to two years and four months for two public servants over claims of insulting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, based on what they shared on their Facebook accounts.

The two public servants have been charged with the crime of “insulting” Erdoğan over the
social networking website, Facebook, as initiated by public prosecutor Mehmet Kıran in Ankara, Anatolia news agency reported May 6.

An investigation was started after an anonymous e-mail received by the Prime Ministry’s Communication Center (BİMER), denouncing seven public servants for sharing remarks against the prime minister and the government. Following an inquiry, two of them were charged with the crime of “insulting.”

One of the defendants denied having insulted Erdoğan or any other statesman, adding that his political opinion did not reflect on his official post and he carried on with his duty regardless of who was in government.

He added that he might have shared or “liked” certain writings, photographs or caricatures created by others. “I did not do that with the intention of insulting. Insulting any living being, let alone statesmen, does not fit with my character.”

The other defendant has said he does not insult anyone regardless of their title or rank, but he might have made critical comments about regulations in the education system.

According to the bill of indictment, “edited” photographs shared by the suspects overtly target the reputation of the prime minister, and thus they must be charged with the offense of “insulting a public servant due to their post.”

In 2011 Erdoğan called Facebook “ugly technology,” adding that any type of immoral content can be published and openly presented to all through this website. Yet his official Facebook page has almost 2 million followers.

In a similar case a citizen was sentenced to one year and three months in prison for “insulting the president,” Abdullah Gül, on Facebook, as reported by Anatolia in September 2012.