8 November 2018:
A Turkish journalist was handed down a suspended sentence of two years, five months in prison on Thursday for insulting Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Reuters reported, citing a court ruling shown to them.
Hüsnü Mahalli, a prominent journalist who also writes columns for the opposition Sozcu newspaper, will not be incarcerated due to time already served and as the ruling is up for appeal. The Turkish court also handed Mahalli a suspended sentence of one year, eight months for insulting public officials.
Mahalli will only serve the lesser sentence if he commits a crime that requires a prison sentence in the next five years, during which time he will be on probation. “My client has been sentenced due to the expressions he used in his columns, tweets. These should be regarded within freedom of criticism. We will appeal the sentence,” Mahalli’s lawyer Ertuğrul Aydoğan said.
Mahalli was detained in December 2016 after he accused Turkey of assisting terrorist groups in Syria and called Erdoğan a dictator. He was released in January 2017 pending trial. Mahalli defended himself in court, saying he was doing his job, the private Demirören news agency (DHA) reported. “I have not insulted the president. I have always addressed him as Mr. President. The word ‘dictator’ is not an insulting word. I request my acquittal,” he said during his defense, DHA said.
20 January 2017:
An İstanbul court on Friday ruled to release journalist Hüsnü Mahalli, who was arrested on Dec. 15 on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. An indictment prepared by İstanbul Public Prosecutor Can Tuncay seeks a jail sentence of up to seven years, three months for Mahalli. The minimum jail sentence sought for the journalist is 28 months.
Mahalli, who is Syrian, has worked for various media outlets for years, writing columns on international affairs. The journalist has been targeted by pro-government media outlets in Turkey due to his stance on the Syrian war. Mahalli has criticized the government, especially for its Syria policy.
Mahalli is known to suffer from a number of health problems. When his condition deteriorated under police custody, Mahalli was first taken to the Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty Hospital’s emergency ward and neurology service for further treatment.
An indictment prepared by an İstanbul public prosecutor seeks a jail sentence of up to seven years, three months for journalist Hüsnü Mahalli on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Mahalli was arrested on Dec. 15.
The indictment prepared by İstanbul Public Prosecutor Can Tuncay also accuses Mahalli of insulting public officials. The minimum jail sentence sought for the journalist is 28 months. Mahalli, who is Syrian, has worked for various media outlets for years, writing columns on international affairs.
22 December 2016
Critical Syrian columnist Hüsnü Mahalli, who was detained on Dec. 12 night after pro-government media targeted him for his stance on the Syrian war, was taken to the Cerrahpaşa Medical Faculty Hospital for further treatment, a main opposition deputy said on Wednesday.
13 December 2016:
Critical Syrian columnist Hüsnü Mahalli, who has been writing for Turkish newspapers for years, was detained on Tuesday night after pro-government media targeted him for his stance on the Syrian war.
Police raided the İstanbul home of Mahalli, who currently writes for the Yurt daily. Main opposition deputy Barış Yarkadaş announced Mahalli’s detention on Twitter, saying that the Syrian columnist is accused of humiliating the Republic of Turkey and insulting its statesmen.
Erkan Tan, a host for the staunchly pro-government A Haber TV, recently targeted Mahalli, calling him “the dog who belongs to a murderer,” in reference to embattled Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.