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Turkish singer faces 2 years in prison for ‘insulting’ ex-soldier convicted of sexual assault

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Turkish prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of up to two years for famous singer Melek Mosso on charges of insulting a former soldier convicted of raping an 18-year-old who later committed suicide, local media reported on Monday.

In late 2021 a Turkish court handed down a suspended sentence of 10 years to former noncommissioned officer Musa Orhan on conviction of sexual assault. He was standing trial for raping an 18-year-old Kurdish woman, İpek Er, who later died by suicide.

Since the sentence was suspended, Orhan wasn’t arrested but was rather placed under judicial supervision, in a decision condemned by human rights activists. Many women’s associations in Turkey also criticized the decision, saying the judicial system was “protecting a rapist” by allowing him to walk free.

The indictment, drafted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office following a criminal complaint filed against Mosso by Orhan’s lawyer Mehmet Erkan Akkuş, is seeking up to two years, four months for the singer on charges of “insulting” Orhan on social media, Turkish media reports said.

In the social media post Mosso said, “Shame on this system that protects rapists,” using the hashtag #EzgiMolayalnızdeğildir (Ezgi Mola isn’t alone), referring to a popular Turkish actress who was convicted of insult charges after she protested the release of Orhan in a tweet in August 2020.

In October 2021 an Ankara court convicted Mola of insult and ordered her to pay a fine of TL 5,200 ($276). The court then deferred the announcement of the verdict, meaning if Mola does not commit a similar offense during the probation period the conviction will not appear on her record.

“Drown in the conscience that let you release this rapist low-life,” Mola had said in a tweet referring to Orhan, who was released pending trial after six days behind bars by a Siirt court on August 26, 2020, despite a forensics report confirming that he raped İpek Er.

Femicides and violence against women are serious problems in Turkey, where women are killed, raped or beaten every day. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s policies that protect men by granting them impunity is the main cause of the situation, critics say.

Early in 2020, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sparked outrage in Turkey and the international community after he pulled the country out of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, an international accord designed to protect women’s rights and prevent domestic violence in societies.

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