Turkish singer Suavi sentenced to 11 months in jail for ‘insulting Erdoğan’
Turkish singer Suavi has been sentenced to 11 months and 20 days in prison for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, but the sentence has been converted into a fine of 14,000 Turkish Liras ($3,415).
Suavi, 67, had on Oct. 29, 2016 said at an event in the Aegean province of İzmir that “up until yesterday, they had a friendly relationship. One is no better than the other,” referring to Erdoğan and U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
The Gülen network, which the authorities now refer to as the Fetullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), is widely believed to have been behind the July 2016 coup attempt.
The İzmir 33rd Criminal Court of First Instance on April 17 initially sentenced Suavi to 1 year and 2 months in jail, which was then reduced to 11 months and 20 days before being converted into a fine.
Suavi’s lawyer said his client’s remarks should be assessed within the framework of freedom of speech and demanded his acquittal.
Suavi said he finds the fact that he is tried for his remarks “extraordinary.”
“Insulting the president” is a crime in Turkey punishable by up to four years in jail.