Turkish court sentences journalist to prison, removes children from his custody

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A Turkish court has sentenced journalist Murat Güreş to prison and also removed his two children from his custody until his sentence is served, the BirGün newspaper reported on Friday.

Güreş, an editorial board member of two local news websites in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, was sentenced to one year, two months and 17 days in prison on charges of insulting the police on social media last year.

The Gaziantep 21st Penal Court of First Instance initially sentenced him to one year in prison but later added two months, 17 days to the sentence on the grounds that the crime was committed publicly.

In his defense Güreş argued that he merely directed criticism against the police without the intention to insult anyone.

The sentence was not suspended on the grounds that Güreş showed no sign of remorse for his actions.

The court also ruled that Güreş cannot legally care for his two children until his sentence is served, removing them from his custody.

“I am faced with a decision so ruthless that it takes away my rights of parenthood. I will appeal it. The verdict is up to the court of appeals, yet I am not afraid to go to jail. I will continue to defend free speech.” Güreş told BirGün.

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