Istanbul 2nd Assize Court convicted caricaturist Bahadır Baruter to 14 months of prison for charges related to insulting Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The conviction was made according to Turkish Penal Code Article 125 on "insulting a public officer" due to a caricature that depicted then-PM Erdoğan shaking hands with a man who circled his other hand’s finger - body language that is associated with homosexuality.
Published on Penguen Magazine's cover on 21 August 2014, the aforementioned caricature also included a dialogue where Erdoğan is telling the other person “We should have sacrificed a journalists or something” when admitted to the new presidential palace - referring to a Turkish tradition to make a sacrifice while moving to a new home.
The prison sentence, on the other hand, was commuted to a fine of 7,000 lira fine considering all penalty reductions due to “good conduct” in a hearing yesterday.
“You can no longer publish caricatures about Erdoğan”
Commenting on the verdict after the trial, Tora Pekin, Baruter’s advocate, reminded that there were several accusations regarding the same caricature in the case indictment.
“Both the body language and statements in the speaking bubbles were included in the indictment,” Pekin said.
“It is hard to make a comment on the outcome as the short verdict didn’t specify why the rights were violated. Under any circumstances, however, it is obvious that there is no insult in the caricature. If we say otherwise it will be impossible to publish a caricature about Turkey’s President. Therefore, we we will appeal to this ruling.”
Another complaint for insulting the prosecutor
According to Cumhuriyet newspaper, the judge also ruled to press charges for Baruter for insulting a public officer when Baruter alleged that prosecutor Vedat Yiğit “charged him with his subconscious statements”. (EÖ/BM)
* Click here to read the article in Turkish.
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