The trial for “insulting” a local official of one of the most famous comedians of Turkey opened Monday, the latest example of a long series of similar litigation worries the defenders of freedom of expression. Cem Yilmaz, 42, faces two years in prison for a series of tweets vitriolic against the governor of the province of Yalova (northwest), Selim Cebiroglu after the death of a professor of mathematics.
In March last year, Mr. Cebiroglu had publicly reprimanded the teacher in question, Halil Serka Öz, judging that his clothes and beard gave him the air of “beggar”. The teacher aged 42 had died of a heart attack during a demonstration to denounce the remarks.
Responding on Twitter, Cem Yilmaz said then: “Grind a man by using the power conferred by official responsibilities and inevitably break his heart … How sad that the poor professor died. May you elevate yourself to even greater responsibilities, the Governor! “
“Our client has committed no crime. At no time in his tweets has he said ‘It was you who did it’, “pleaded Monday Rengin Gönenç Yüksel, counsel for Cem Yilmaz was quoted by the pro-government agency Anatolia. He “made critical (…) He did so in his capacity as a comedian, artist,” added the lawyer of the comic away.
The trial for insulting the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have multiplied since his election as head of state in August 2014, a sign, according to critics, an authoritarian drift. Nearly 2,000 legal proceedings were launched, targeting both artists and journalists as individuals.
“Tolerance leaders for criticism should be higher,” said the lawyer Cem Yilmaz Monday. Cem Yilmaz is one of the most famous comedians in Turkey. Also screenwriter and actor, he has starred with Russell Crowe in “The Promise of a Life” (2014). The trial was adjourned to 13 July, said Anatolia.
Stéphane © armenews.com