A Turkish journalist has been arrested on charges of spreading "disinformation," his lawyer said, marking the first arrest under a new law that critics say threatens free speech, The Guardian reported.
The arrest comes two months after parliament passed a radical law that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling party says will protect society. Critics say authorities may abuse the law to suppress dissent.
Sinan Aygul, a journalist from the Kurdish-populated Bitlis province, was detained after tweeting that a 14-year-old girl had been sexually abused by men, including police officers and soldiers. He later retracted the story.
In a series of tweets, Aigul said the local governor told him the story was untrue after he posted about the alleged incident. He apologized for publishing the story without confirmation from authorities.
Later Wednesday, a local court ordered that Aigul be arrested pending trial, ruling that his actions could cause fear and panic among the population and disrupt the peace of the country.
In his statement to the court, Aigül said he corrected his mistake after speaking with authorities, deleted the original tweet and did not intend to commit a crime.
His lawyer said the detention was illegal.
The law provides up to three years in prison for anyone who spreads false or misleading information.