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Lawyer of arrested TV journalist files complaint against justice minister

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The lawyer for TV journalist Sedef Kabaş, who was arrested last weekend on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has filed a criminal complaint against Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül over the arrest of his client, the lawyer has announced.

Uğur Poyraz tweeted on Thursday that he had filed a complaint against Gül at the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

“When Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül — who should have remained silent when everyone else was speaking — spoke, Sedef Kabaş was deprived of her freedom by means of unlawful and unjust decisions,” Poyraz said, blaming the minister for playing a role in the arrest of the journalist.

Following Kabaş’s detention by police officers at her house in the early hours of Saturday, Gül made a statement condemning her remarks about President Erdoğan, which he described as “ugly and immoral.” Gül also said Kabaş will give an accounting of her remarks in court.

An investigation was launched into Kabaş on allegations of insulting the president on Friday, and police raided her house in Sarıyer on Saturday and detained her.

She was formally arrested after appearing in court.

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

Kabaş was investigated for insulting Erdoğan after ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesperson Ömer Çelik, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu,  Environment Minister Murat Kurum, and presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın pointed to her as a target over her comments about the president during a debate program on pro-opposition broadcaster TELE1.

Commenting on Erdoğan’s years-long performance as president during the television program, Kabaş said, quoting a Circassian proverb, “When an [ox] enters a palace, it doesn’t become a king. [However], that palace becomes a barn.”

Kabaş also posted the proverb on Twitter.

An İstanbul court on Wednesday turned down a petition from Kabaş’s lawyer objecting to her arrest on the grounds that there was nothing against the law or procedures in her arrest.

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