Turkish pop singer indicted for inciting hatred

ISTANBUL — A Turkish pop-singer might withstand three years in jail after she was indicted Friday for “inciting hatred and enmity” over a joke she made about non secular faculties within the nation.

Singer-songwriter Gulsen was jailed final week however was launched 4 days later and positioned beneath home arrest.

The costs stem from a joke the singer made throughout a live performance in April, when she quipped that one among her musicians’ “perversion” got here from attending a spiritual faculty. A video of the singer’s remark started circulating on social media lately, with a hashtag calling for her arrest.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and lots of members of his Islam-based ruling occasion are graduates of non secular faculties known as Imam Hatip, which had been initially established to coach imams.

The 48-page indictment has 702 complainants, together with from people, a pro-government girls’s rights group and an affiliation from the non secular faculty. Turkey’s penal code criminalizes incitement of hatred and enmity in opposition to totally different teams in society primarily based on class, race, faith or sect, requiring a jail sentence in circumstances that result in threats in opposition to public security.

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In her assertion to the police included within the indictment, Gulsen stated she had joked with a band-member whose nickname was “imam” however who had not attended the varsity. “I by no means stated this to insult or denigrate college students of Imam Hatips or a section of our nation. My respect for all values and sensitivities of the nation is everlasting,” she stated and denied the fees.

The 46-year-old singer, whose full title is Gulsen Colakoglu, had beforehand grow to be a goal in Islamic circles on account of her revealing stage outfits and for unfurling an LGBTQ flag at a live performance.

A courtroom has to approve the indictment for the trial to start. A request by Gulsen’s lawyer for her to be launched from home arrest was rejected.