A court in İstanbul has released a tea-maker with the Cumhuriyet daily who was arrested last week for saying he would not serve tea to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Şenol Buran, who was in charge of managing the cafeteria of the critical Cumhuriyet daily, was put in Silivri Prison for allegedly insulting President Erdoğan.
Upon the objection of the daily’s lawyers, the court handed down a verdict to free Buran after people initiated a signature campaign to demand his release.
Cumhuriyet had reported that Buran was late to work on Dec. 24 after authorities closed roads and stopped public transport to deny access to the Şişli district, where President Erdoğan was to attend a meeting.
“When I finally arrived at the building [of Cumhuriyet], the security chief asked me why was late. I explained the situation and he told me that the police closed the roads because of the president. He also told me that I would serve him a glass of tea if he pays us a visit,” Buran said.
According to the daily, even though Buran said he would not serve him tea, he denied the allegations of insulting Erdoğan.
Buran was arrested by the İstanbul 11th Criminal Court of Peace on Saturday upon complaints by several police officers who were reported to have witnessed the conversation.
Ten top journalists from the Cumhuriyet daily have been in prison since late October.