Click to read the article in Turkish
Teacher Fırat Erdem working in Turkey’s southeastern Sason, Batman has been sentenced to 7 years, 7 months and 19 days in prison for defaming state institutions and insulting the President.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, former Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chair Devlet Bahçeli and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu were a party to the trial held at Batman 2nd Heavy Penal Court. Former Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Burhan Kuzu were present in the hearing as “victims”.
The court’s decision was finalized at Antep Regional Court of Justice 3rd Chamber of Penalty approving the decision.
Education and Science Laborers Union Sason District Chair, teacher Fırat Erdem was arrested on December 29, 2015 on charge of insulting President Erdoğan due to his Facebook posts.
Prosecutor demanded acquittal of Erdem on charges other than organization membership and insult. Chief Judge complied with the demand and ruled Erdem be sent to jail on charge of insult.
“The Facebook posts don’t belong to me”
Teacher Erdem said the following in his deposition he gave in the last hearing:
“I was using Fırat Erdem account on Facebook. This account was then seized by someone else and ‘Renas’ was prefixed to the name. I noticed that the posts didn’t belong to me and removed some of them. Those were the posts shared on behalf of me”.
Charges of “being a member of an armed terror organization”, “insulting the President”, “openly insulting the Turkish nation, Republic and Grand National Assembly of Turkey”, “attending unlawful demonstrations and rallies, and not dispersing despite warning” have been pressed against him.
Erdem was released on January 11, 2016. (AS/TK)
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