An İzmir court on Aug. 1 arrested 73-years old Funda Bayarı, chair of the Aegean Animal Rights Federation, for sharing images of people violating animal rights on her personal social media account.
Bayrı received a total of three years and four months in prison on the charges of “obtaining or disseminating personal data,” according to reporting of daily Cumhuriyet.
Her lawyer stated that she was imprisoned due to the fact that there were finalized convictions from other cases in the same article and she will be in prison for at least a month even if their objections are accepted.
"Unfortunately, the laws are insufficient to protect animal rights defenders as they are insufficient to protect street animals," the lawyer added.
In a landmark decision, the Turkish parliament in 2021 passed a law that defined animals as "living beings" and made animal abuse a crime punishable between six months and four years in prison.
However, the law’s scope is said to be insufficient as sentences less than two years are usually deferred in Turkey, making it possible for perpetrators to avoid jail time despite their horrendous acts. Therefore, animal rights activists often use social media to warn the public about the perpetrators and shape public opinion.