SHAFAQNA- Halit Meşe, a student in the Faculty of Agriculture at Çukurova University, was detained on Thursday and then referred to court after being questioned at the prosecutor’s office that evening. The court decided to arrest Meşe early on Friday, and he was thereafter put in prison.
Meşe’s lawyer, Ahmet Yılmaz, spoke to Today’s Zaman on the phone on Thursday and said his client was detained by police after he allegedly swore at and insulted President Erdoğan while he was drunk in a hospital in Duziçi, Osmaniye province.
Yılmaz said that a drunk Meşe had quarreled with police, who had given Meşe a verbal warning at the hospital, and during the quarrel Meşe allegedly used “insulting” words to describe Erdoğan.
Aytekin Gezici, a journalist in Adana, claimed on Twitter that the prosecutor had implied to Meşe and his lawyer that he was under pressure to order an arrest for the student. “If I do not refer Meşe to court for arrest, who knows what will happen to me later?” he was quoted as saying.
On Dec. 24, a 16-year-old high school student, M.E.A., was also arrested by a court in the Central Anatolian city of Konya for insulting President Erdoğan.
M.E.A. was taken to a police station to be interrogated after being taken into custody at the Meram Industrial Vocational High School. Police reportedly went to the school and took him into custody while he was in class, in front of his teacher and fellow classmates.
The teen was then referred to court for arrest. After that, the 1st Konya Penal Court of Peace jailed the student on charges of insulting the president. The high school student was released pending trial after his lawyer appealed the arrest order.
The arrest of M.E.A. also sparked public outrage and harsh criticism on social media websites.
Sharing other details of Meşe’s brush with the police, Gezici wrote that Meşe also told the police: “If I had said ‘Biji Apo’ [Long live Apo], you would offer me tea, but you treat me rudely because I am drunk.”
“Biji Apo” is a Kurdish cheer used to refer to imprisoned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan.