Turkish teen released after detention for 'insulting' Erdoğan due to age
ANKARA – Agence France-Presse
DHA PhotoA schoolboy, initially thought to be 15, was detained by police in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri for allegedly “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan before being released when the court determined he was in fact 14.
According to reports, the teenager, identified by the initials Ü. E., spent the night on Oct. 21 in a police station after being stopped by officers outside an Internet café.
He was set to be brought before a court on Oct. 22 which would decide whether to charge the minor or fine him.
The agency did not give details of the boy's alleged "insult," yet insulting the president is a crime in Turkey and those found guilty face up to four years in prison.
The boy was released in the afternoon on Oct. 22 after the court determined he was under the age of 15. According to law, children under the age of 15 cannot be convicted for crimes that are punishable by less than five years.
The arrest in December of a 17-year-old accused of insulting Erdoğan sparked outrage in the country and abroad, fuelling concerns about freedom of speech in Turkey.
In that case the teenager was given an 11-month suspended sentence.
Since Erdoğan's election as president last August, the number of prosecutions for insulting the head of state has risen and target artists and journalists as well as schoolchildren.
Earlier this month Bülent Keneş, the editor-in-chief of an English-language daily newspaper, Today's Zaman, was detained on suspicion of insulting Erdoğan in a series of tweets.