The Anadolu Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul launched an investigation on July 4 into a Turkish actress who opposed the death penalty by tweeting about the “record number of rape incidents” in the Saudi Arabian city of Medina, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
“If the death penalty was a solution, then the lands of Medina would not break records in the number of rape incidents,” Berna Laçin said in a tweet on July 3.
Laçin’s comments about Medina, which is the second-holiest city in Islam after Mecca, came after the Turkish public started to debate about reinstating the death penalty amid a wave of violent crimes in which a number of children and women were victimized.
In a statement on July 4, the prosecutor’s office said Laçin would be probed over claims she “insulted people’s religious values,” a charge that had previously led to jail sentences.
In 2016, two Turkish journalists were sentenced to two years in prison in a case the prosecutor argued that they “insulted people’s religious values,” when they had republished a cover of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo featuring an image of the Prophet Muhammad.
After a social media storm, Laçin defended herself, saying her comment was not about Islam, but modern Saudi Arabia, where capital punishment is a legal penalty.
“I was talking about the current social order of Medina. When I say Medina, why do you not think of the [Saudi] Arabian city instead of thinking of holiness? Calm down,” she said on her social media accounts.
“Would I be insulting Christians if I said something negative about Sweden?” the 48-year-old actress asked, adding that she was intentionally targeted by social media trolls to promote their pro-death penalty campaign.