An Istanbul court sentenced Hasan Akar to two years and six months in prison Wednesday for insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.
Akar had used swear words about Atatürk in a video widely circulated on social media and was at large for days when prosecutors issued him an arrest warrant. After being on the run for a short while he turned himself in to authorities in June.
The court sentenced him to one year for insulting Atatürk and "inciting public hatred" in Wednesday's hearing where his lawyer said he was only guilty of the insult, not inciting public hatred.
Atatürk, credited with the rebirth of Turkey after the collapse of Ottoman Empire, is a revered figure whose legacy is protected by laws. Any insulting gesture and words directed at him is punishable by law.
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