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2 cartoonists to spend 11 months in jail for insulting president

An Istanbul court ruled to convert the sentence into a fine of 7,000 Turkish liras (over N530,000) for cartoonists Bahadir Baruter and Ozer Aydogan who work for Penguen, a popular satirical magazine in Turkey.

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2 cartoonists in Turkey have been sentenced to 11 months and 20 days in jail following a cartoon they did which was termed insulting to the country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

An Istanbul court ruled to convert the sentence into a fine of 7,000 Turkish liras (over N530,000) for cartoonists Bahadir Baruter and Ozer Aydogan who work for Penguen, a popular satirical magazine in Turkey.

The cartoon which was published in August 2014 displays then newly-elected Erdogan entering the presidential palace as he calls it a "dry" welcome, adding, "at least we could have slaughtered a journalist."

According to Al Jazeera, the duo are the latest ones to be prosecuted for purported insults against President Erdogan as dozens of people have been prosecuted in Turkey for allegedly insulting him - on social media, verbally, and through cartoons.

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Mos recently, 37 students and teachers appeared in court in the northern city of Trabzon on charges of insulting the president at a protest in February, while 16-year-old is also being tried in a similar case.

It's also not the first time Penguen would get embroiled in legal battle over their cartons,  in 2005 when Erdogan was prime minister, he sued the magazine for depicting him as several different animals.

A court, however, threw out the case in 2006.

For this latest case, a statement by Penguen said a citizen had filed a complaint to the prime ministry's information office following the publication of the cartoon, claiming that the circular hand gesture of the aide in the cartoon, who is holding the buttons of his jacket, implies homosexuality.

In the email he sent, the citizen argued that the depicted aide was making a so-called "ball" gesture, which represents homosexuality in Turkish slang, the magazine said.

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The information office then notified the prosecutor’s office, which resulted in an indictment bill and a court case on the cartoon.

But the magazine, which said it would appeal the verdict, said it would keep drawing their cartoons;

"We will continue to draw our cartoons as we feel like. We hope this case will be the last example of the efforts to dismay the freedom of thought," Penguen said.

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