[UPDATE] Critical Syrian-Turkish columnist Mahalli arrested

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Journalist Hüsnü Mahalli enters the İstanbul Courthouse on Dec. 15, 2016.

Syrian-Turkish columnist Hüsnü Mahalli was arrested by an İstanbul court on Thursday on charges of insulting the president on TV and on his social media account.

Mahalli, a Yurt daily columnist and a vocal critic of Turkey’s Syria policy, was detained on Tuesday night after pro-government media targeted him for his stance on the Syrian war.

In an investigation pursued by prosecutor Can Tuncay in İstanbul, Mahalli is accused of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his alleged support of the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Mahalli is also charged with denigrating the honor of the president.

Police raided the İstanbul home of Mahalli on Tuesday night. Erkan Tan, a host for the staunchly pro-government A Haber TV, recently targeted Mahalli, calling him “the dog who belongs to a murderer,” in reference to embattled Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

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