Adar Press

A Turkish court acquitted a militant accused of belonging to the terrorist organization "ISIS" was acquitted on the grounds that his propaganda for radical organization was part of the "freedom of expression".

A Turkish court acquitted Kushkon Demir, 27, who lives in Erzurum district of eastern Turkey, after being charged with belonging to the ISIS organization, according to the Nordic Monitoring Center for Monitoring Extremism, Terrorism and Crime.

 The center quoted official documents as saying that Demir was part of a hardline cell and helped many Turks to join ISIS, al-Qaeda and other extremist armed groups in Iraq and Syria.

Demir, also known as Abu Hanzalah, is still being held by the court pending a final decision.

Investigators found that Demir had been in contact with another Turkish militant called Abu Bakr, who Turkish authorities say is the mastermind of attacks by a "ISIS" organization inside Turkey.

The evidence also showed that Demir was in contact with a Turkish man known as Mohammed Selef, a man wanted for belonging to the ISIS organization.

In his testimony before the court on May 30, 2018, Demir admitted to spreading propaganda through social networking sites in favor of ISIS, and defended his position in seeking to overthrow the secular regime in Turkey.

The Turkish authorities arrested Dimir in November 2017, because of his activities with "ISIS", and was charged on 21 December 2017, but was later released pending trial.

In May 2018 he was again arrested on similar charges and a second indictment was filed against him on June 13, 2018. Police found dozens of extremist books while searching his home.

In the trial, which ended on 22 November 2018, the new prosecutor, Mustafa Savaş, who was brought to take over the case after his predecessor was abruptly changed, asked the court to acquit Demir of all charges.

Recently, the Judges' Committee, composed of Judge Jacob Tasselova, Mustafa Akkan and Mohamed Ali Kubar, at the Fourth High Criminal Court in Erzurum, unanimously ruled that he was acquitted on the grounds that he had the right to exercise freedom of expression.

But the ruling contrasts sharply with the Turkish government's record of imprisoning nearly 200 journalists simply for criticizing the government and the policies of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The unprecedented crackdown following the failed coup attempt in July 2016 brought many academics, human rights defenders, lawyers, teachers, doctors and others into prison.

Translation: Adar Press.

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