June 23, 2014

Man who insulted Gülen on Internet convicted

A man who openly insulted Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen on the Internet was given a suspended prison sentence by a court in Ankara on Monday.

Halil Gürsoy, who left an offensive comment about Gülen on the website of the Oda TV news portal, was sentenced to one year, two months' imprisonment. However, the court suspended the sentence because the defendant had no previous criminal record, but said he needed to pay the court fees.

Oda TV had rerun a fabricated story about Gülen that was originally published by the government media. After Gürsoy's insult on the website, Gülen's lawyer, Adnan Şeker, filed a legal complaint stating that the comment contains all the elements of hate crime and argued that it cannot be considered freedom of expression.

Judge Ali Ertan handed down a heavier sentence than usual, since the insult was made publicly. Gürsoy will serve time in prison if he commits another crime in the next five years.

Published on Cihan, 23 June 2014, Monday