Journalist Adnan Bilen, who was accused of “insulting the president” over two posts he made on social media back in 2015 and 2017, was ordered to pay TL 7,000 at the end of the second hearing of his trial that took place on 8 November 2019.
The 4th Criminal Court of First Instance of Van ruled to sentence Bilen to 11 months 20 days in prison for using the expression “ disgraceful” in one of his posts, while he was acquitted over the other post. The sentence was commuted to a fine worth TL 7,000.
In the indictment, which sought Bilen to be sentenced from 1 year and 2 months to 4 years and 8 months in prison for “insulting the president,” President Erdoğan was registered as the injured party.
Journalist Adnan Bilen’s trial on the charge of “insulting the president” over his social media posts got under way on 19 July 2019 at the 4th Criminal Court of First Instance of Van.
Bilen and his lawyer Haşem Baygümüş were in attendance in the courtroom. In his defense statement, Bilen said the social media posts he is being accused for do not include any insulting remarks. Adding that newspaper columns or news stories about an individual who is both the president of a country and the chairman of a political party at the same time should be deemed political criticism, not insult, Bilen said the posts he is accused for have both been shared on social media by over 1 million people to date. Bilen asked: “Are you going to press charges against all those 1 million people? Is this truly possible?”
Bilen also told the court that he did not want the court to defer or suspend the sentence in the event he is convicted. Bilen’s lawyer requested the court to acquit his client. The court adjourned the trial until 8 November 2019.
Adnan Bilen, a reporter for the Mezopotamya News Agency, was questioned by police in the eastern city of Van on October 5, the daily Evrensel reported. Police detained 15 people during raids on houses in Van Province the previous night, as part of a search for several people including Bilen, the report said. Bilen went to the police on his own accord after hearing that police wanted to speak with him,and was released after being questioned about his social media posts.*