Mother and son sentenced to prison for insulting Turkey's Erdoğan

A woman and her son, who threw a flowerpot to a party van of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling party during a brawl with the party members, were sentenced to 11 months 20 days in prison on the grounds of insulting the president, Turkish news site Diken reported on Monday. 

The woman and her son argued that they were innocent and did not insult Erdoğan.

The incident took place on March 23, 2017, when the members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to the neighbourhood for the 2017 presidency referendum campaign. They faced the reaction of residents due to high campaign music volume while distributing leaflets.

Living on the first floor of an apartment, Ayse Gül Gürçen, whose mother was sick, asked campaigners to reduce the volume.

Gürçen, got angry by the apathy of the AKP members, threw a flowerpot from her balcony to the party van. There was no injury, but the van was damaged. 

Ayşe Gül Gürçen said that she was verbally attacked and there were sick inhabitants, and she was disturbed by the loud music. Police detained party members, Gürçen and her son. The parties were released after filed a complained each other.

As a result of the hearing, the mother and son were sentenced to 11 months and 20 days in prison.

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 of Recep Tayyip 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. 873 cases resulted in acquittal.