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Turkish teen arrested for ‘insulting’ Erdogan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a meeting with village chiefs at the Presidential Palace in Ankara on October 19, 2015. (AFP photo)

A Turkish teenager has been arrested by police forces for allegedly “insulting” the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reports say.

The Cihan News Agency said on Thursday that the teenager identified as U. E. was detained outside an Internet Café on Wednesday night.

The 15-year-old is expected to be brought before court later in the day, which will determine whether he will be charged or fined.

Details regarding the accusations brought against him have not been released.

It is illegal to insult the country’s president under Turkish law, and those found guilty of doing so are at risk of facing up to four years in prison. The law has led to the arrest and prosecution of a number of journalists, activists, intellectuals, students and even celebrities.

Last month, a 16-year-old Turkish youth was handed a suspended 11-month jail sentence for calling Erdogan a thief during a student protest last December.

Earlier, Bülent Keneş, the editor-in-chief of the Turkish English-language newspaper Today’s Zaman, was handed down a suspended jail term of 21 months by a court in the capital, Ankara, for insulting Erdogan in a message posted on Twitter.

Tolga Tanış, a US-based journalist, was also detained in June over suspicions that he insulted Erdogan in a book he had authored.

Rights groups and free speech advocates have criticized the government for suing people over expressing their opinions, describing it as a means of aggressive muzzling of dissent in Turkey.

Erdogan, a former premier who ascended to presidency last year, has faced growing popular dissatisfaction over what critics say is his growing autocratic manner.

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