Recep Erdogan, Turkey’s tyrannical president, has always had a reputation for being precious about his image.
Rifat Cetin was only narrowly spared jail and has been stripped of his parental rights after remarking on social media of the likeness between despot Erdogan and the “small, slimy creature” from the blockbuster films.
The case provides further evidence of Turkey’s alarming lurch towards dictatorship under Erdogan at a time when the country’s impending membership of the European Union is being accelerated.
A judge handed Cetin a one year jail sentence, suspended for five years and stripped him of his parental custody rights, according to the Hurriyet newspaper.
The maximum jail term for insulting Erdogan is four years, and he has now been warned he will go to jail if he commits another “crime”.
The court was told that Cetin posted an image on Facebook in 2014 in which he combined three pictures of Erdogan with the Gollum character, immortalized in J.R.R Tolkien’s classic trilogy and played by Andy Serkis in the Hollywood films.