Fashion Designer Sentenced for 'Insulting Turkish People and State'

Barbaros Sansal, a Turkish fashion designer, given a six and a half month sentence for a video denouncing violence and corruption in Turkey

Turkish fashion designer Barbaros Sansal poses for a photo in Istanbul, Turkey.
(AP Photo/File)

A Turkish fashion designer who denounced violence and corruption in a satirical video has been given a six-month suspended prison sentence by an Istanbul court, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Thursday.

The court gave Barbaros Sansal a suspended sentence of six months and 20 days for "insulting the Turkish people and the Republic of Turkey".

Sansal was expelled from Turkish-administrated northern Cyprus after he posted a video on social media on New Year's Eve that criticized the celebration of New Year "while there is so much filth, vileness and poverty" in the country.

Upon his arrival in Istanbul on January 2, Sansal was beaten up by airport workers before being arrested the following day.He was later released by the court, pending trial. The video came shortly after a New Year's Eve attack by the militant group Islamic State that killed 39 people at an Istanbul nightclub.

Sansal has been an outspoken critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development party (AKP). In his video, he referred to "scores of journalists in prison" in Turkey.

Turkey is currently under a state of emergency imposed last year following an abortive coup. Tens of thousands have been jailed or purged while media houses have been shuttered, municipalities placed under central government administration and businesses taken over.