Turkish court acquits rapper arrested over lyrics: CNN Turk

Friends of 28 year old Turkish rapper “Ezhel” whose real name is Omar Sercan Ipekcioglu, react after he was released on June 19, 2018 in front of the Anadolu courthouse in Istanbul. (Bulent Kilic/AFP)
Updated 19 June 2018
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Turkish court acquits rapper arrested over lyrics: CNN Turk

ISTANBUL: A Turkish rapper who faced 10 years of jail on charges of encouraging drug use in his lyrics was acquitted on Tuesday at the first session of his trial in Istanbul, broadcaster CNN Turk reported.
Sercan Ipekcioglu, 27, better known by his stage name Ezhel, had been detained since last month after a court accepted a prosecutor’s indictment against him over his lyrics and social media posts, it said.
He denied the charges.
Ezhel, whose videos have racked up millions of views online, refers to smoking marijuana in some of his songs. In Turkey, the encouragement of drug use is punishable by law, as is the possession and sale of narcotics.
Dozens of his fans flooded the court house ahead of the trial, CNN Turk said. The hashtag #FreeEzhel was one of the top trending topics on Turkish Twitter.
“After four weeks of pre-trial detention, the judge took just 30 minutes to rule for rapper Ezhel’s release and acquittal,” said Andrew Gardner of Amnesty International, which followed the trial on Monday.
Some 20,000 Turks took part in Amnesty’s campaign for release of the singer, Gardner said.
Amnesty International has campaigned for journalists, singers and rights defenders jailed in Turkey as part of a government crackdown on the right to free expression which accelerated after a failed coup in 2016.


A hairy issue: Sailors tell the US Navy, ‘We want beards’

Updated 20 July 2018
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A hairy issue: Sailors tell the US Navy, ‘We want beards’

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island: Now that women in the Navy can wear ponytails, men want beards.
The Navy said last week that servicewomen could sport ponytails, lock hairstyles, or ropelike strands, and wider hair buns, reversing a policy that long forbade females from letting their hair down.
Servicemen immediately chimed in on social media, asking the Navy if they could grow beards. A sailor’s Facebook post with a #WeWantBeards hashtag was shared thousands of times.
Beards were banned in 1984. The Navy wanted professional-looking sailors who could wear firefighting masks and breathing apparatuses without interference.
The Navy says that’s still the case. Still, some hope the change in female grooming standards opens the door.
Travis Rader, a 29-year-old naval physical security officer, said allowing beards would boost morale for men, just like allowing ponytails and locks has for women. There are two things that would make many Navy men happy: beards and better boots, he added.
Rader had a 6-inch-long beard when he joined the Navy after high school.
“You take something away from somebody, and they want it more,” said Rader, a master-at-arms assigned to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City.
The Navy announced it was adding grooming options for women during a Facebook Live event. Many black women had asked the Navy to be more inclusive of different hair textures. The Navy had the standards in place because of safety concerns and to ensure everyone maintained a uniform, professional look.
Rader was one of several sailors who wrote in the comments section of the Facebook Live event to press for beards. Bill Williams, a 20-year-old naval information systems technician, commented too, asking why sailors can’t have beards if bearded civilian firefighters wear masks.
Williams said he thinks a nice, well-groomed beard looks very professional.
“It’d be great because I know that when I shave for multiple days in a row, it starts to really hurt,” said Williams, who works at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Hampton Roads in Virginia.
Sailors can get permission to grow a beard for religious reasons or if they have a skin condition that’s irritated by shaving. Mustaches are allowed as long as they are trimmed and neat.
“Handlebar mustaches, goatees, beards or eccentricities are not permitted,” the policy states. The Navy isn’t currently considering changing that.
Safety continues to be the primary concern, said Lt. J.G. Stuart Phillips, a spokesman for the chief of naval personnel. He referenced a 2016 study by the Naval Safety Center, which concluded that facial hair affects the proper fit and performance of respirators.