Turkish Rap Artist Acquitted of Inciting Drug Use

Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images
'Ezhel' whose real name is Omar Sercan Ipekcioglu, poses with his mother after he was released on June 19, 2018 in front of the Anadolu courthouse in Istanbul. 

A court in Istanbul has acquitted a rap musician of the charge of inciting drug use in his song lyrics and video clips.

Sercan Ipekcioglu, better-known as rapper “Ezhel,” was detained by narcotics police in Istanbul last month and later charged with encouraging drug use.

The state-run Anadolu Agency said the court acquitted him on Tuesday in the first hearing of the case, ruling that Ipekcioglu had not “acted with the intent of committing a crime.”

Dozens of Ezhel fans waiting outside the courtroom cheered and celebrated his acquittal.

His arrest had led to a social media campaign by supporters, with many users calling for his release using the hashtag “FreeEzhel.”