Journalist receives jail sentence for insulting Erdoğan on social media

A Turkish court sentenced a journalist working with a local newspaper in the western province of Aydın to jail over insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on social media, independent news site Diken reported on Sunday.

Mustafa Yayla was sentenced to 11 months and 20 days in jail over a post on social media three years ago, Diken said.

Yayla’s lawyers had appealed an initial sentence following  an anonymous complaint filed with the Prime Ministry's Communications Center (BİMER) over the journalist’s post, however, the Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of the local court.

In Turkey, insulting president carries a sentence between one and four years, according to the Turkish Penal Code.

The Turkish government has been using social media posts, cartoons, news and articles as evidence for insulting the president and thousands of people have been facing prison sentences.

Between 2010 and 2017, 12,893 cases of insulting the president were filed. Of these, 12,305 were filed under the presidency Erdoğan, who assumed office in 2014.

The courts have convicted defendants in 2,099 of a total of 5,150 cases. There were an additional 660 cases in which a verdict was reached, but the court adjourned before announcing the decision. A total of 873 cases resulted in acquittal.