Istanbul’s 21st Criminal Court of First Instance had acquitted Altan on 26 April 2018, saying that despite his words “being of an extremely critical or disturbing nature, they did not constitute an act of offense or insult”

A regional court of appeals has upheld jailed journalist and novelist Ahmet Altan’s acquittal in a trial where he was charged with “insulting the president” over his remarks in an interview published in 2015 in the news portal Grihat.

The interview was headlined “Saraylarda oturabilmek için gencecik çocukları öldürüyorlar” (They’re killing children so that they can live in palaces).

Istanbul’s 21st Criminal Court of First Instance had acquitted Altan at the seventh and final hearing of his trial on 26 April 2018. The trial court had held that despite Altan’s words “being of an extremely critical or disturbing nature, [his] words did not constitute an act of offense or insult that could openly damage [one’s] reputation.”

The verdict was appealed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s lawyers.

The 3rd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice rejected the appeal on 26 December 2019, finalizing the verdict.

The appellate court noted in its judgment that Erdoğan’s lawyers had filed a waiver of prosecution on 7 October 2016, and that therefore they were not entitled to appeal as per Article 243 of Criminal Procedure Code (CMK), which stipulates that if the intervening party files a waiver of prosecution, or dies, their status as intervening party shall be void.


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