SP councillor on trial in Turkey for social media statements cleared

A Socialist Party councillor from Eindhoven who was arrested while on holiday in Turkey has been cleared of making propaganda for a terrorist group through statements on social media.

Earlier today Murat Memis was also told he was no longer being charged with belonging to a terrorist organisation, understood to be the Kurdish rebel group PKK, designated a terror group by the EU, America and Turkey. Now, the NOS broadcaster reported that he has been cleared of any charges and is free to leave Turkey.

The councillor was arrested on 30th April during a holiday, his passport confiscated and after four days in jail he was released but forbidden from leaving the country. He told the Volkskrant at the time that ‘they have decided that I am a member of the PKK on the basis of my tweets.’

Foreign minister Stef Blok had been put under pressure by MPs to pressure Turkey in the hope of releasing Memis, but he said he was working ‘behind the scenes’.

Lilian Marijnissen, head of the SP, reportedly travelled to Antalya to support her party member, a 31-year-old of Kurdish descent, who had criticised the Turkish invasion of Afrin in northern Syria.

Article 301 of the Turkish penal code makes it a crime to ‘insult the Turkish nation’.

Blok was relieved that the case was dismissed, according to the NOS. ‘This is an expeditious end to Turkish legal procedures,’ he reportedly said.

Updated on Tuesday 2nd July after a court hearing

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