Journalist Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu, already under arrest for more than 17 months as part of the Turkish government’s post-coup crackdown, has been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The lead colunnist for the leftist Türk Solu weekly magazine and the leader of the National Party (UP), Fırat has been under since Aug. 31, 2016 pending trial on charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and membership in an armed terrorist organization called “FETÖ,” an acronym that the Turkish government uses for the Gülen movement.
State-run Anadolu news agency said Feb 9 that an Ankara court sentenced Firat to 2 years, 5 months and 5 days in prison for insulting Erdogan via his tweets posted in 2014. The journalist was given a year prison sentence for the same charge in June, last year.
As of the end of 2016, at least 10,000 people were under investigation on suspicion of terrorist propaganda and insulting senior state officials on social media. A total of 1,080 people were convicted of insulting Erdoğan in 2016, according to data from Turkey’s Justice Ministry. Data also showed that 4,936 cases were launched against people on charges of insult in 2016.