Turkish cartoonist faces imprisonment for insulting politicians on social media

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Turkish cartoonist Nuri Kurtcebe has been indicted by a prosecutor for allegedly insulting public officials in a Facebook post in 2017, with the prosecution seeking a prison sentence of up to four years, the Independent’s Turkish service reported on Thursday.

The names of Binali Yıldırım, the former speaker of parliament from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP); Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of a nationalist party; and Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, chairman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) appeared as plaintiffs in the court documents.

In the indictment the cartoonist is charged with insulting public officials in the performance of their duties, which is stipulated as a crime under Turkey’s penal code.

In the Facebook post Kurtcebe reportedly described the three politicians as, among other things, “the monkeys of Uncle Sam [referring to the US] with blood on their hands.”

The first hearing is slated to take place on March 2, 2020.

The cartoonist was previously arrested and released on bail in 2018 for insulting the president.

Kurtcebe used to draw for Turkish comic books Limon and Dıgıl as well as the Cumhuriyet newspaper. He was also among the founders of the legendary comic book “Gırgır.”

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