Two Turkish journalists sentenced to two years in jail for Charlie Hebdo cover
ISTANBUL – Doğan News AgencyTwo journalists were sentenced to two years in prison on April 28 for republishing in their columns a cover of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo featuring an image of the Prophet Muhammad.
Istanbul’s Second Criminal Court of First Instance sentenced daily Cumhuriyet journalists Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Çetinkaya to two years on charges of “openly encouraging hate and enmity among people via the press” for reprinting the caricature of the Islamic prophet after the Jan. 7, 2015, attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris that killed 12 people.
However, the court ruled for the acquittal of the journalists on charges of “insulting people’s religious values” on the grounds that the criminal factors had not been constituted.
Some 1,280 people had filed a criminal complaint against Karan and Çetinkaya for republishing in their columns the cover of Charlie Hebdo, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his daughters Esra Albayrak and Sümeyye Erdoğan, his son Bilal Erdoğan, his son-in-law Energy Minister Berat Albayrak and his adviser Mustafa Varank.
The indictment prepared by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s office charged both Karan and Çetinkaya with “openly insulting religious values accepted by a section of the society” and “openly encouraging hate and enmity among people” by republishing the cartoon in their columns.
Cumhuriyet faced security threats after it became one of five international publications that printed excerpts from the edition of Charlie Hebdo published following the attacks, in a show of solidarity with the killed cartoonists.