Turkey arrested journalism student for insulting president

A Turkish court on Friday arrested a journalism student on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a column she wrote for a website, Turkish opposition news outlet Sendika.org reported

Berivan Bila, a journalism student at Karadeniz Technical University, wrote an article titled "journalism is not a crime" in July 2017, when several former Cumhuriyet columnists and workers were detained.  

Turkish police detained Bila Dec. 6 and brought her to the court in Trabzon, a northeastern city on the Black Sea coast. She was arrested over the charges of insulting Erdoğan and would stay behind bars until the next hearing, according to Sendika.org. 

In her column, Bile mentioned about the imprisoned journalists in Turkey, the Cumhuriyet trials and several media workers expelled by the decree laws under the state of emergency. Bile describes the situation in Turkey as ''under dictatorship and pressures'' in her column.

Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world and is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

In the country, 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.