A man in the southwestern province of Antalya was handed down 15 months of imprisonment and deprived of his custody rights for “insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan” after likening him to Gollum, the fictional character in the film series of Lord of the Rings in a Facebook post, however, his sentence will not be served if he does not commit another crime within five years.
Rıfat Çetin received two sentences on charges of both “insulting the president” and “insult”. Çetin reportedly posted on Facebook an image, where he combined three pictures of Erdoğan with those of Gollum, in 2014, when Erdoğan was the prime minister.
According to a report by the BirGün daily, Çetin told he has been confused as to why he received two separate sentences and how he was convicted of “insulting president,” while his act took place at a time, when Erdoğan was serving as the prime minister. Çetin stated that he is planning to appeal the verdict.
Previously, Bilgin Çiftçi, a doctor, was prosecuted for sharing a picture of Gollum paired with that of Erdoğan on the social media and he was dismissed from his job in a public institution.
In the recent years, Turkey has seen a massive rise in prosecution against social media users, including journalists, politicians and high profile figures, on charges of “insulting President Erdoğan”. Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ announced in early March that his ministry granted permission to courts for prosecution of 1,845 individuals due to insulting Erdoğan between August 2014 and March 2016.