13-year-old faces trial for insulting Turkish President Erdogan
A 13-year-old middle school student on Thursday appeared before a judge, accused of insulting the President Tayyip Erdogan, adding to thousands of similar cases in recent years where individuals have faced legal consequences for criticizing the Turkish president.
The trial of B.C.G. began in Istanbul Children's Court with an indictment citing a complaint filed with the Presidency Communication Center (CİMER) based on his remarks in a WhatsApp group as evidence, Birgun newspaper reported on Friday.
A report was also requested from the Forensic Medicine Institute regarding the child. The report stated that the child had sufficient cognitive ability to perceive the legal meaning and consequences of their actions and to direct their behavior.
The indictment alleged that the 13-year-old middle school student had "attacked the honor, dignity, and respectability of the President." The prosecutor requested punishment for the child on charges of insulting the President.
During the hearing, the child stated, "I reacted when someone named Erdogan in the WhatsApp group wrote messages containing insults towards Ataturk. O reacted to these messages. I did not intend to insult the President. I request my acquittal."
The court adjourned the trial and ordered a "social investigation report" to be prepared for the child. The Istanbul Bar Association's request to intervene in the case was denied.
1,075 CHILDREN WERE PROSECUTED IN 2022
The number of people facing legal proceedings for "insulting the President" reached a record high last year. In 2022, a total of 16,753 individuals appeared before criminal courts on charges of insulting the President.
In 2022, 1,075 children were prosecuted for the crimes of "insulting the President," "disrespecting the symbols of state sovereignty," "insulting the Turkish nation," and "insulting the Republic of Turkey and its institutions."
According to statistics from the Ministry of Justice, out of the children facing charges, 53 were between the ages of 12 and 14, while 1,022 were between the ages of 15 and 17.