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Turkey 'Twitter troll' sentenced over threat to singer

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

An Istanbul court set off a Twitter storm Thursday after it handed a five-month suspended jail term to an Internet "troll" for threatening a popular Turkish rock singer.

Cihat Akbel, known for his provocative tweets, was convicted after he launched a hashtag campaign against singer Aylin Aslim, saying: "We must go to her concert and throw a sickle at her head."

The court said Wednesday that Akbel had committed an "Internet crime", in the latest judicial ruling in Turkey over social media posts.

But Akbel denounced the sentence, which he said followed an 18-month trial, declaring on Twitter Thursday: "I didn't mean to threaten anyone."

The court decision also caused an outcry on Twitter, with hundreds tweeting in support for Akbel.

"Some people just go over the top. The decision is too harsh," wrote one user, Burak Uslu.

German-born Aslim, 35, is an alternative rock singer and an outspoken critic of the government.

In September an Istanbul court issued a 10-month suspended jail term to world-renowned pianist Fazil Say over Twitter posts deemed religiously offensive.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has often launched attacks on social media and used the courts to silence his opponents, adding to concerns about rights in a country which has long sought to join the European Union.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131128/turkey-twitter-troll-sentenced-over-threat-singer