Turkish man receives record-breaking jail sentence for insulting Erdoğan

A Turkish court sentenced a man in the eastern province of Van to jail over insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on social media, independent news site T24 reported on Sunday.

Burhan Borak was sentenced to 12 years and 3 months in jail over seven posts on social media in 2014, T24 said. The judge rejected to request for postponement of punishment. With this, every social media post received 1 year and 9 months.

The sentence is "the severest punishment" regarding all insulting the Turkish president cases, according to Borak's lawyer.

"Such punishments are not surprising in a country where the judiciary is not independent. We will appeal to a higher court about the given sentence. I hope justice will prevail," Borak said.

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

The Turkish government has been using social media posts, cartoons, news reports and other articles as evidence for charging people with insulting the president. And the number of cases has increased dramatically since Erdoğan assumed office in 2014.

Between 2010 and 2017, 12,893 cases of insulting the president were filed, academic and cyber rights activist Prof. Yaman Akdeniz said in a report in August. Of that total, 12,305 were filed by lawyers representing Erdoğan, he said.