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.


El Salvador court frees woman jailed for delivering stillborn

Evelyn Hernandez (C) is surrounded by activists after being released from the women's Readaptation Center, in Ilopango, El Salvador, on February 9, 2019, where she was serving a 30-year-sentence for aggravated homicide after her baby died at birth. (AFP)
Updated 16 February 2019
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El Salvador court frees woman jailed for delivering stillborn

  • Even women who abort due to birth defects or health complications risk jail sentences of up to 40 years in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR: A Salvadoran court on Friday freed Evelyn Hernandez, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison after she gave birth to a stillborn baby at home.
After serving 33 months for aggravated homicide, 20-year-old Hernandez smiled as she was reunited with her parents and a brother in the capital San Salvador.
The court in Cojutepeque, east of the capital, ruled that she will be retried but while living at home. A hearing has been set for April 4, with a new judge, her lawyer Angelica Rivas said.
El Salvador has an extremely strict abortion ban. Hernandez gave birth in the makeshift bathroom of her home in the central Cuscatlan region. She was 18 years old and eight months pregnant.
She said her son was stillborn but was convicted of murdering him, abortion rights group ACDATEE said.
ACDATEE cited a pathologist’s report which it said indicated the baby had choked to death while still in the womb.
Prosecutors argued Hernandez was culpable for not having sought prenatal care, ACDATEE said.
The group said Hernandez had not known she was pregnant and gave birth on the toilet after feeling abdominal pains. She got pregnant as the result of a rape, which she did not report out of fear because her family had been threatened.
Even women who abort due to birth defects or health complications risk jail sentences of up to 40 years in El Salvador. Campaigners say some have been jailed after suffering miscarriages.
The country’s abortion law made international headlines in 2013 when a sick woman was forbidden from aborting a fetus which developed without a brain.
Under a ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Salvadoran state eventually authorized her to undergo a cesarean section. The baby died shortly after the procedure.