BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:00 A.M.) – A Turkish court sentenced a journalist to four years in prison for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported on Thursday.
According to the SANA report, their journalist Hosni Mahali was given a four year prison term by an Istanbul court for criticizing the policies of Erdogan and his regime.
“Istanbul Criminal Court sentenced Mahali to one year, 18 months and 25 days in prison on charges of ‘insulting the state and the Turkish government’ for exposing Erdogan government’s support for terrorist groups in Syria and allowing the foreign terrorists to enter Syria via its borders,” the SANA report said.
“The court also sentenced the correspondent to two years , five months ,and five days in prison charging him of insulting Erdogan after Mahali highlighted the policies that led to internal and external problems and crises in Turkey,” the SANA report added.
In response to the charges , Mahali said that “all political leaders, ministers, former diplomats, along with former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the Turkish regime supports terrorism in Syria …and as a journalist, I rely on the statements of those officials”.
The court commuted the sentence to probation as Mahali has no criminal record, according to CNN Turk. His defense team said they would appeal the verdict in the Turkish top court.