The 30th Criminal Court of First Instance of Istanbul commutes the sentence to a fine of TL 7,000 

Jailed novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan was convicted on Tuesday of “insulting the president” in what was the final hearing of his trial over his article titled “Yeni Ergenekon” (the new Ergenekon), which was published on P24’s website in May 2016.

The 30th Criminal Court of First Instance of Istanbul commuted the sentence to a fine of TL 7,000.

P24 monitored the hearing, where Altan addressed the court from the Silivri Prison via the courtroom video-conferencing system SEGBİS.

In his defense statement, Altan reminded the court of the legal distinction between the concepts of “insult” and “criticism” set forth by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Explaining that his article was not meant to demean the president, Altan told the court that he had no personal enmity against the president and that his article was just political criticism. Altan demanded that the court adhere to the definition of the charge of “insult” as put forward by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Altan’s lawyers Figen Çalıkuşu and Melike Polat also addressed the court, requesting Altan’s acquittal. The defense lawyers submitted to the court previous judgments by the Supreme Court of Appeals and the Constitutional Court in relation with the “insulting the president” charge.

Before announcing its verdict, the court asked Altan for his final words. Altan reiterated once again that his article criticized not President Erdoğan’s personality but his politics.

The court then went on to issue its verdict in the case, sentencing Altan to 11 months and 20 days in prison on the “insult” charge, which it commuted to a fine of TL 7,000. Altan’s lawyers will appeal the decision at the Appellate Court.

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