Turkish court gives jail term to former Pegasus employee over photo with rakı on Islamic holy night

A Turkish court has handed down a jail term for a former Pegasus employee after he shared a social media photo showing him and colleagues drinking rakı on the Islamic holy night of “Kadir Gecesi” earlier this year.

Duvar English

A Turkish court has sentenced a former employee of the airline company Pegagus to 3 months and 22 days in jail over a social media post showing himself and colleagues drinking alcohol on the 27th night of Ramadan, which is called “Kadir Gecesi” (known as Lailat al Kadr or the Night of Power), earlier this year.

As the defendant did not have a previous criminal record, the court deferred the announcement of the verdict, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Oct. 10.

The case concerns a photo shared by Onur T. on Instagram with the note of: “Exclusive to Kadir Gecesi, may God accept.” The photo showed Onur T. drinking rakı, the staple Turkish alcoholic beverage, with colleagues.  

After the post drew the reaction of Islamists, Pegasus fired Onur T. and issued a statement saying that it had “no connection” to the relevant social media post.

Also, prosecutors launched an investigation into the former Pegasus employee over charges of “explicitly insulting the values of religious values embraced by a fraction of society,” demanding up to 1.5 years in prison.

The court handed down a sentence of 3 months and 22 days for Onur T. over the said charges but deferred the announcement of the verdict taking into account the defendant’s behavior during the trial process as well as his lack of criminal record.