A teenager who was held in jail for two days in Turkey for allegedly “insulting” Turkish President Erdogan has been released.
On Friday, a court in Turkey ordered the release of the 16-year-old high school student arrested for insulting Erdogan. The young man’s release followed intense domestic and international criticism that his arrest was more clear proof of the country’s slide into authoritarianism.
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Altunses accused of insulting Turkey’s President Erdogan
Mehmet Emin Altunses, known in the community as a student political activist, was released late Friday after a complaint by his attorney, Baris Isper, regarding his arrest in the central city of Konya on Wednesday. Of note, Isper was accompanied by more than 100 colleagues who came to show solidarity when he filed the complaint.
Altunses remains accused of insulting Erdogan, and will head to trial at a later date. If convicted, the young man could face up to four years in prison.
Details on the case
Altunses had delivered a speech on Wednesday in Konya, a bastion of the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), where he accused Erdogan and the ruling party of corruption.
The boy, who was arrested by police at school, during questioning denied links with a political party but confirmed he had made the statements in question.
In his speech, Altunses accused President Erdogan of being the “chief of theft, bribery and corruption”. He also said Erdogan was regarded as the “thieving owner of the illegal palace.” in reference to a controversial, just-finished 1,150-room palace Erdogan has had built for himself.
Boy remains defiant
According to CNN-Turk, Altunses was met by his parents as he left the main courthouse building, but defiantly stated his political activism would not be silenced. “There is no question of taking a step back from our path, we will continue along this road,” he said after he was freed.