A local court in the Turkish capital city of Ankara has ruled to release a lawyer who was arrested April 21 for “insulting” President Tayyip Erdoğan during a job interview to become a judge.
However, the Ankara 32nd Criminal Court of First Instance also accepted an indictment drafted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office while delivering the ruling for the lawyer, Umut Kılıç of the Aegean province of Afyonkarahisar, on April 29.
In his indictment, the chief prosecutor of Ankara charged Kılıç with insulting “the President of the Republic” and “public officials in connection to their efforts working as a committee.” The indictment asked that Kılıç’s imprisonment be between two years, five months and 15 days to eight years and nine months.
“You are not going to let me become a judge anyway. You are the men of Erdoğan the fascist,” Kılıç allegedly said during an argument with the judges who interviewed him, according to sources who spoke to daily Hürriyet at the time.
Kılıç was not accepted as a judge after his first interview. The interviewing judges wrote a note about the incident in a second interview on April 21 and Kılıç was detained by police. He was later arrested by a judge on duty at the Ankara Criminal Court of Peace and sent to the Sincan Prison.
Scores of people in Turkey have been prosecuted for “insulting” Erdoğan since he was elected president in August 2014. The list includes journalists, teenagers, a singer and even a former Miss Turkey.
Most of the suspects have been released and are pending trial. Cartoonists Bahadır Baruter and Özer Aydoğan, however, were sentenced to 11 months in prison last month over a satirical piece on free speech in which they were convicted of including a hidden gesture “insulting” Erdoğan.