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Turkey: Twitter User Given Jail Term Over Offensive Posts

Turkish court hands a 15-month jail term to a teacher over Twitter posts deemed religiously offensive.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 5/30/2014, 5:43 AM

Twitter
Twitter
AFP photo

A Turkish court on Thursday handed a 15-month jail term to a teacher over Twitter posts deemed religiously offensive, local media reported on Thursday, according to AFP.

The court in the eastern city of Mus ruled that the man, identified as Ertan P., insulted Islamic values with his Twitter handle -- @allah (cc) -- and a series of tweets he posted.

The defendant claimed his account had been hacked and appealed against the sentence.

Pretending to tweet as God, he reportedly wrote, "In my present state of mind, I would not have created the little finger of human beings."

"Here (heaven) is very safe because there is no police," he tweeted in reference to police crackdown on protesters during mass anti-government demonstrations in June last year.

In March, Turkey banned Twitter altogether, after the micro-blogging site was used to spread corruption allegations against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his inner circle.

The ban, which earned Turkey a strong rebuke from rights groups and its Western allies, was lifted two weeks later after the country's top court ruled that it violated rights.

Citing the same reason, the Constitutional Court on Thursday lifted a similar ban on YouTube, also imposed in March after the website was used to spread damaging leaked audio files from a state security meeting debating possible military action in Syria.

Turkey has in the past few months tightened government control of the Internet and the judiciary, generating criticism from rights groups.

In 2012, a Turkish court charged an internationally known pianist and composer with insulting Islamic religious values, also in comments he made on Twitter.