Turkish Student Faces Four Years in Prison for Insulting Erdogan

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People hold placards as they protest against Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan after the government blocked access to Twitter in Ankara, on March 21, 2014. Credit: AFP

A 16-year-old Turkish student is facing as much as four years in prison for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, media reports say.

The boy was pulled out of his high-school class, interrogated by the police, arrested and charged with insulting the president, the reports say.

The website of the Turkish daily Today's Zaman reported that the teen, identified only by his initials, MEA, had become an activist and started a Facebook page.

During a speech, Today's Zaman reported, the boy said, "We view Erdogan as the head of theft, bribery and corruption."

AFP quoted the Turkish paper Hurriyet as reporting that the boy was speaking in Konya, a center of Erdogan's Islamic-based Justice and Development Party.

The speech memorialized a young secular teacher killed by Islamists in 1930, according to the AFP report.

Testifying to a prosecutor, the boy said he did not intend to insult Erdogan, Today's Zaman reported.

Today's Zaman said that a Konya member of the opposition Republican People's Party, Atilla Kart, sharply criticized the move against the student and said fear, oppression and threats in Turkey are severe. 

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