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Turkish actress 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 more than two years for famous actress Hazal Kaya on charges of insulting a former soldier convicted of raping an 18-year-old who later died by suicide.

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 took her own life.

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 ruling, 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 Kaya by Orhan’s lawyer, is seeking more than two years for the singer on charges of “insulting” Orhan on social media.

Kaya posted the tweet in which she is accused of insulting Orhan in support of another actress, Ezgi Mola, who was convicted of insult after she protested the release of Orhan from pre-trial detention in a tweet in August 2020.

In her tweet Kaya said Mola called the rapist a low-life and that there was nothing wrong with doing that. She said Orhan is a murderer who caused the death of a woman he raped and that nobody can give assurances that another woman will not be victimized by him because he is free.

Kaya denied the insult charges directed against her in the indictment and said in her defense that she does not feel herself a part of a judicial system in which calling a rapist a rapist is a crime.

Kaya said she read and reread the letter Er left behind before taking her own life, was devastated by her story and posted that tweet in an act of protest.

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 had raped İpek Er.

Like Kaya, famous Turkish singer Melek Mosso is also facing a jail sentence of more than two years on charges of insulting Orhan.

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