Turkish rap artist Ezhel faces 10 years in jail for inciting use of cannabis
Ömer Sercan İpekçioğlu, better known by his stage name Ezhel, has been charged for inciting drug use in his songs and on his social media accounts, according to the indictment of the prosecutor accepted by the 44th Criminal Court of First Instance on June 5.
28-year-old singer was arrested on May 24 on charges of “encouraging drug use” in Istanbul by anti-narcotics police.
Complaints were filed to the Prime Minister’s Office regarding Ezhel’s YouTube channel, the indictment said, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
A picture showing him with the outlawed cannabis sativa plant was shared on Ezhel’s Twitter account, it added. The mentioned picture was liked by 5,182 people and 123 people commented on it.
Lyrics from one of Ezhel’s most popular songs were also cited in the indictment.
“The brighter the lights, under the influence of marijuana, taking puffs,” said the lyrics of the song “Geceler” (Nights).
İpekçioğlu has accepted that the mentioned social media accounts are managed by him. He confessed that he took the picture of himself with the outlawed plant, though without the purpose of encouraging drug use.
İpekçioğlu, who faces a jail term of five to ten years, has defended himself saying that those were just lyrics and he was a musician.
Born and raised in the Turkish capital Ankara, Ezhel made the ghettos of the city central features of his rap music. He defines his music style as “Anatolian Urban Core/Hip-Hop/Reggae-Dub/Trap.”