Turkish court acquits academic who posted 'Long Live Kurdistan' tweet

A Turkish court has acquitted an academician who was standing trial for writing “Long Live Kurdistan” on social media, and ruled that the relevant tweet is within the freedom of speech.

Duvar English 

A court in Turkey's eastern province of Elazığ has acquitted a Kurdish academic who was standing trial for writing “Long live Kurdistan” in a social media post.

The Elazığ 2nd Heavy Penal Court said that Hifzullah Kutum's tweet did not constitute a crime and was within the freedom of speech, according to reporting by DW Turkish.

Prosecutors were demanding that Kutum, a research assistant at Fırat University, receive a jail term of up to five years over charges of “making terrorism propaganda.”

Kurum evaluated the court's ruling to DW Turkish, saying that this investigation shows how “miserable” the state of the judiciary is in the country. He said that the Turkish Republic has official ties with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

He said that people in Turkey are raised with the mentality to insult and destroy other races. 

Kutum's lawyer Mehdi Özdemir also spoke about the ruling to DW Turkish, saying that the launch of such an investigation in the first place is a “legal monstrosity.” “It is pleasing for all of us that this legal monstrosity has been finalized with an acquittal decision,” he said.

Kutum was detained on Nov. 5, 2021 over the relevant tweet. The next day, he was sent to jail and released pending trial on Nov. 10. In the meantime, the rector's office of Fırat University suspended him from his position.

The research assistant will apply to the judiciary for the university administration to reinstate him to his position.