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‘Insulting’ Erdogan puts more than 900 children before court in Turkey: Report

In Turkey, more than 900 minors, including 264 between the ages of 12 and 14, have appeared before the court in a span of six years for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a report says.

The Justice Ministry report revealed on Sunday that a total of 128,872 probes had been launched in six years with regard to the matter.

Prosecutors evaluated over 36,000 complaints and launched criminal cases for more than 11,370 only in 2019.

According to Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, insulting the president can result in between one and four years in prison. If the act is committed overtly, a one-sixth increase of the sentence is applied. 

A total of 9,556 of the cases resulted in convictions and nearly 2,680 were handed prison sentences, out of which seven are children.

More than 4,320 individuals were acquitted. 

Turkey: End Prosecutions For ‘Insulting President’Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has chosen to drop a complaint against four Ankara students he accused of “insulting the president” for holding up a satirical banner, Human Rights Watch said today. The students’ trial is due to begin on October 22, but the prosecutor is likely to seek their acquittal following the announcement that the president has withdrawn his complaint. While the move is a positive and welcome development for the four students scheduled for trial, it does not address the wider problem of thousands of similar ongoing cases in the courts which blatantly violate freedom of expression, the organization said.

Foreigners and legal entities were also among those sued, with charges usually being based on social media posts. 

The latest court cases have raised concerns over freedom of expression in Turkey.

Erdogan has denied any crackdown on free expression in Turkey.

His tenure as president has seen a record number of ‘insulting’ cases.

Rights groups and free speech advocates have criticized the Turkish government for suing people over expressing opinions, describing it as a means of aggressive muzzling of dissent in Turkey.

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