Turkish court sentences 14-year-old child to five months in jail over ‘insulting President’

A Turkish court has sentenced a 14-year-old child to five months in jail over the charges of "insulting the President." The child will not serve time in prison because the court decided to defer the announcement of the verdict.

Duvar English

Istanbul Gaziosmanpaşa Juvenile Court on July 6 sentenced a 14-year-old middle school student to 5 months in prison for "insulting the President," according to daily BirGün.

In the indictment, the prosecutor had argued that the child was complained to the Presidential Communication Center (CİMER) because of their remarks in a WhatsApp group, and the child "attacked the honor and dignity of the President.” 

At the hearing, the lawyer for the Presidency stated that they were not pressing charges. Nevertheless, the court first sentenced the child to one year in prison and then reduced it to five months on the grounds of the defendant's minor age and "good behavior." 

Since the court decided to defer the announcement of the verdict, the child will not serve time in prison. 

Forensic Medicine prepared a report about the child, which said the child's ability to perceive the legal meaning and consequences of their action was sufficiently developed during the time of the “crime” while they were 13 years old. 

In 2022, a total of 1,075 children were sued over the charges of  "insulting the President," "insulting the signs of the sovereignty of the state," "insulting the Turkish Nation," "insulting the State of the Republic of Turkey, the institutions and organs of the state."

A tool commonly deployed by Ankara to reprimand critics of the government, insult charges often concern comments about the president.

In October 2021, the ECHR ruled that the crime of “insulting the president” was a violation of basic human rights and freedom of speech. It fined Turkey and told the country to change the law and pay recompense to those charged. 

Despite the ruling, the Turkish judiciary has continued to sentence people over these charges to suppress the opposition.