Turkish ministry paves way for trial of high school student over ‘insulting’ president
KONYA – Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoTurkey's Justice Ministry has approved the trial of a 16-year-old boy, who was detained on charges of insulting the president, in a controversial case that sparked national outcry when he was detained in December.
The teenager, identified only by his initials M.E.A., will appear in a juvenile court on March 6 in the Central Anatolian province of Konya, facing one to four years of jail time.
A member of an online youth group calling themselves Democratic High School Students, M.E.A. is accused insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for reportedly saying that he considered him “the leader of corruption, bribery and theft” during a public speech delivered in his hometown Konya.
The suspect’s lawyer, Barış İspir, said the Justice Ministry gave the approval for his client’s prosecution on the day he was released from custody in late December.
The teenager was taken away from his school last month and remained under custody for two days, in a move that many saw as an attempt to intimidate the opposition in Turkey.
According to the Turkish Penal Code, any trial on such charges must first be approved by the Justice Ministry to go ahead.
Shortly after M.E.A.'s arrest, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had expressed his support for the move, saying, “Everyone should show respect to the office of the president, whoever they are.”