Turkish journalist fined 10,000 dollars for insulting Erdogan

A Turkish journalist was fined 28,650 liras (10,000 dollars) for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the journalist's lawyer said Monday, in the latest case of criticism leading to legal woes.

Can Dundar from the leftist Cumhuriyet newspaper - who is also, separately, on trial for allegedly trying to overthrow the government for his reporting on weapons shipments to Syria - was accused of insulting the president, his son Bilal Erdogan and others.

Lawyer Blent Utku told dpa that the case pertained to articles Dundar wrote in relation to a corruption scandal that rocked the government in late 2013. The exact reason behind the Istanbul court's ruling has not yet been made public.

"As a journalist he just did his job. He didn’t use an insulting word," Utku said. "Of course we are going to appeal. This decision is not in line with the law."

Dundar and his colleague Erdem Gul are facing life in prison if found guilty of trying to overthrow the government. Their trial, which is taking place behind closed doors, is set to resume May 6.

Erdogan himself has said that Dundar and Gul will pay a "heavy price" for reporting on alleged weapons shipment from Turkey to Syrian rebel groups.

Turkey is a staunch backer of the Syrian opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.

More than 1,845 people are facing prosecution in Turkey for insulting Erdogan.

Meanwhile, Turkey has also been stepping up moves against foreign journalists in the country, denying entry to a number of reporters, including a correspondent from German public broadcaster ARD last week.

A US journalist posted on social media that he was denied entry to Turkey on Monday. A Dutch reporter of Turkish origins was arrested last week in Turkey for allegedly insulting Erdogan.

Turkey ranks 161 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index.

Last update: Mon, 25/04/2016 - 18:33

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