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Local politician arrested for posting video of ‘Bella Ciao’ broadcast from minarets

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Banu Özdemir, a local politician from Turkey’s main opposition party, was arrested on Friday after posting video footage showing the Italian revolutionary song “Bella Ciao” being broadcast from several mosques in the city of İzmir.

Circulated on social media on Wednesday, the footage prompted Turkish prosecutors to launch an investigation targeting social media users for “openly insulting religious values.”

Media reports indicated that hackers accessed the central system allowing the simultaneous call to prayer from multiple minarets and played the popular Italian song from several mosques in the Konak, Karşıyaka, Çiğli and Buca districts.

İzmir Mayor Tunç Soyer released a statement condemning the incident as a “flagrant provocation” and urging calm.

Özdemir, the former deputy chairman of the İzmir branch of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), was detained Thursday and arrested by a court on Friday.

She posted the video footage without much elaboration on her Twitter account.

“She was arrested just because she’s a CHP member,” Özgür Özel, the party’s group deputy chairman, tweeted on Friday.

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