The lawyer of Sedef Kabaş, who has been jailed over her comments critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has said that the renowned journalist is “in very high spirits and not scared.”
Lawyer Uğur Poyraz made the comments after visiting Kabaş in the Bakırköy Women's Prison in Istanbul.
“I have visited my client Sedef Kabaş. She is in very high spirits and not scared because she is right,” Poyraz tweeted.
Müvekkilem @SedefKabas 'ı ziyaret ettim.— Uğur Poyraz (@av_ugurpoyraz) January 23, 2022
Morali çok yüksek, korkmuyor.
An Istanbul court on Jan. 22 jailed Kabaş pending trial on charges of “insulting” Erdoğan.
The alleged insult was in the form of a palace-related proverb that Kabaş expressed both on television channel TELE1 and on her Twitter account.
Kabaş said on live TV and later in a tweet: “An ox might find his way into the palace but it doesn’t make him a king. It does, however, turn the palace into a barn.”
In her defense later, Kabaş denied the charges and said that her remarks constituted as a proverb. “The original of my remarks are a proverb. As it can be understood, I did not have any intention of insulting. What I meant is the necessity of embracing society and use of unifying rhetoric,” she said.
Several groups have slammed the move to arrest Kabaş, with the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) saying that authorities are attempting to “create an atmosphere of fear in the public.”
In a written statement, the TBB said that freedom of expression is protected by the Constitution. “When the issue is about journalists' freedom of expression, the area of freedom and rights is handled at a much bigger framework,” it said.
36 journalists handed down a total of 80 years of imprisonment in 2021
Meanwhile, according to a report prepared by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmaker Utku Çakıröz, Turkish journalists appeared before the courts a total of 475 times in the year 2021.
The "2021 Freedom of Press Report" said that courts have handed down a total of 80 years of imprisonment to 36 journalists within the year. At least 31 journalists were detained while doing journalism, while 105 journalists were exposed to physical violence, intervention and threats, daily Birgün said on Jan. 24, citing the relevant report.