Journalist Yavuz Selim Demirağ Released

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Imprisoned yesterday (June 13) for having insulted President and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, daily Yeniçağ columnist and Türkiyem TV program producer Yavuz Selim Demirağ was released from prison on probation at midnight today.

Sentenced to 11 months and 20 days in prison for having insulted Erdoğan in a speech that he held in 2010 when Erdoğan was the Prime Minister, journalist Demirağ first submitted himself to Ankara Western Courthouse and was sent to the Ayaş Prison afterwards.

Demirağ has spoken to bianet after being released on probation yesterday. “Anything can happen at any time in Turkey,” Demirağ has stated.

A commision was set up at midnight

Underlining that he has been released thanks to the power of the media, Demirağ has further indicated,

“This release is, of course, the power of the media. The solidarity of our journalists friends and colleagues… They got a fright before the elections [İstanbul repeat elections on June 23] and released. They set up a commission at midnight and said, ”You can go out on probation’.”

Stating that there are several ongoing cases against him, Demirağ has also criticized the overcrowding in prisons: “There are 250 thousand people in prisons. The capacity is not even 150 thousand. It is very very crowded.”

When asked about the time that he spent in prison, Demirağ has said, “I don’t want to go into these details. They welcomed me quite well. What happened there stayed there. I don’t want to reveal the condition there.”

What happened?

A lawsuit was filed against journalist Yavuz Selim Demirağ on the allegation that he insulted Prime Minister of the time Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a speech that he made in Nazilli, Aydın on March 30, 2010. Demirağ was charged with “insulting the public official due to his or her duty.”

The Nazilli 4th Penal Court of First Instance pronounced its verdict on January 15, 2018, sentencing the journalist 11 months and 20 days in prison. After the 12th Penal Chamber of the İzmir Regional Court of Justice upheld his prison sentence, Demirağ was imprisoned in Ayaş Prison in Ankara on June 13 to be released at midnight one day later. (HA/SD)