Amnesty International issued an updated urgent action in the case of fashion designer and LGBTI activist Barbaros Şansal. “Şansal remains in pre-trial detention since 3 January for allegedly ‘inciting the public to hatred or hostility’, despite a court rejecting the indictment drawn up in his case.” He must be freed immediately and unconditionally.
According to Amnesty
Şansal remains in pre-trial detention since 3 January in Silivri prison, near Istanbul, despite the fact that, on 6 February, a court rejected the indictment charging him with “inciting the public to hatred or hostility” under Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code. The accusation is based on a short video he shared on New Year’s Eve and two tweets, one of which he denies sending.
The Istanbul Criminal Court of 1st Instance No.43 rejected the indictment on grounds that there is insufficient evidence to prove the charges. According to Barbaros Şansal’s lawyer, the court stated that the indictment did not explain how Barbaros Şansal had been able to send one of the tweets from Istanbul when he was in fact in the territory of northern Cyprus.
Amnesty says that the content of both the video messages and tweets (which Şansal says he did not send) are protected under the right to freedom of expression, and should not be subject to criminal prosecution.”
Amnesty International has long called for Article 216 of the Penal Code to be amended and be brought in line with international law, by repealing paragraphs 2 and 3 which exceed the permissible restrictions on the right to freedom of expression.
Barbaros Şansal’s lawyer also told Amnesty International that the prosecutor has requested the permission of the Minister of Justice to open another investigation under Article 301 of the penal code for “denigrating the Turkish nation”. Amnesty International calls for the repeal of Article 301 as it constitutes a direct and impermissible limitation to the right to freedom of expression
For information on how to participate in Amnesty’s urgent action, follow this link.