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Fox TV anchor given suspended sentence for ByLock claim about minister

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A suspended jail sentence of 16 months, 20 days has been handed down to Fox TV anchor İsmail Küçükkaya on insult charges due to his claim about a minister’s husband’s using ByLock, a controversial mobile phone application.

An investigation was launched into Küçükkaya last October shortly after he claimed during a live TV program that the spouse of a minister, which later turned out to be Minister for Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, was a ByLock user and that the couple had divorced after the minister learned about it. Küçükkaya said he obtained this information from sources in Ankara.

Turkish authorities believe ByLock is the top communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Küçükkaya was given the jail sentence on charges of insulting a public official and insulting the organizations and institutions of the Republic of Turkey.

Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and homemakers, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt.

The Supreme Court of Appeals’ Assembly of Criminal Chambers ruled in September 2017 that the ByLock smart phone application is to be considered evidence of membership in a terrorist organization following Turkish Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül’s remarks on ByLock constituting strong evidence of terrorist organization membership.

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