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Four years in prison for tweeting?

Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter

TURKEY'S state-run news agency says prosecutors are seeking more than four years in prison for NBA player Enes Kanter on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Anadolu Agency says an indictment prepared by the Istanbul chief prosecutor's office accuses the New York Knicks star of insulting the president in a series of tweets he posted in May and June 2016.

Kanter said he wasn't concerned and continued his criticisms of Erdogan, saying: "That dude is a maniac.

"That stuff really don't bother me because I'm used to it," Kanter said after the Knicks practised in New York on Thursday.

"I think it's just nothing to me, man. I'm in America. I'm good and my focus right now is just going out there, playing basketball, have fun with my teammates and just winning and just thinking about playoffs.

"I'm just trying to be the voice of all of these innocent people, man because all of these innocent people are just going through really tough times. Journalists, innocent people in jail getting tortured and killed and kidnapped. And it's pretty messed up. And they hate it. They hate when I talk to you guys in front of all of these cameras, these microphones."

Kanter referred to President Erdogan as the "Hitler of our century" in a tweet in June, and criticised the Turkish government in a piece for The Players' Tribune for punishing people not for any crimes, but because of what they say or believe in.

Kanter also tweeted and retweeted criticisms of Erdogan.

 

 

 

 

Kanter cannot return to Turkey because his passport has been cancelled. He would be tried in absentia.

The player is a vocal supporter of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric blamed by Turkey for last year's failed military coup.

Kanter was detained in Romania on May 20. He said he was able to return to the United States after American officials intervened.

He said his family remains in Turkey and he is concerned for them - he said his father at one point was jailed for a week because of his "outspoken criticism of the ruling party".

 

But Kanter downplayed the latest suggestion he faces more than four years in prison.

"I was like, that's it, only four years? All the trash I've been talking?" Kanter said.

"I promise you guys, it doesn't really bother me even bother me a little bit, because my thing is just going out there and playing basketball."

Topics:  jail time tweets



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