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Turkey: Recently acquitted rapper recharged on same drug charges

24 July 2018

 

On 11 July 2018 the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Office’s indictment accusing Turkish rapper Ezhel of “encouraging drug use” was accepted.
Photo: Ezhel / Facebook

 

On 11 July 2018 the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Office’s indictment accusing Turkish rapper Ezhel (Ömer Sercan İpekçioğlu) of “encouraging drug use” was accepted by a Turkish court, reported Hürriyet Daily News.

This is Ezhel’s second time facing the charge of encouraging drug use, which if found guilty, could result in a 10-year prison sentence. He was acquitted of the initial indictment on 19 June 2018 by a court in Istanbul after it was determined that the rapper did not intend to commit a crime.

The prosecution’s latest indictment reinstates claims asserted in the initial indictment regarding the promotion of drug use within the rapper’s lyrics. Ezhel has once again refuted this claim, insisting that the lyrics “were merely words appropriate to the [rhythm] of the song”, explained popularly circulated Turkish newspaper Sabah.

Additionally, the prosecution has cited claims that traces of THC, a chemical compound found in cannabis, were present in the results of a blood test conducted on the musician. However, no other trace of narcotics use was found during a recent search of his home, reported conservative Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah.

Yet again, fans of the artist took to social media to protest the renewal of the charges, posting messages and videos containing the rapper’s lyrics alongside the hashtag #FreeEzhel.

Read more about Turkey’s recent clamp down on rappers here and its continued clamp down on artistic freedom in Freemuse’s State of Artistic Freedom 2018 report here.

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