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İstanbul court turns down objection to arrest of TV journalist

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An İstanbul court has turned down a petition from the lawyer of a famous TV journalist objecting to her arrest on charges of insulting the president, Turkish media outlets reported.

The court in its decision on Wednesday rejected the petition on the grounds that there was nothing against the law or procedures in the arrest of Sedef Kabaş. The court also said after examining Kabaş’s file that there was a strong suspicion that the alleged crime has been committed.

An investigation was launched into Kabaş on allegations of insulting the president on Friday after she quoted a Circassian proverb during a recent program on TELE1 station whike commenting on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s years-long performance as a president.

“When an [ox] enters a palace, it doesn’t become a king. [However], that palace becomes a barn,” said the journalist.

Police raided her house in the Sarıyer district of İstanbul in the early hours of Saturday and detained her. She was arrested after appearing in court the same day.

The crime of insulting the president carries a prison sentence of one to four years in Turkey.

Meanwhile, the United States on Monday expressed disappointment over the arrest of Kabaş, with US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price saying at a news briefing in Washington that freedom of expression strengthens democracy and needs to be protected even when it involves speech some may find controversial or some may find uncomfortable.

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