University of Utah student Fahri Celik, 26, has been convicted of assault and stalking and has been sentenced to one year in jail.
He may be deported instead, or the case - possibly the first under Utah's misdemeanor stalking law to go to trial - may be appealed.Third Circuit Judge Michael Hutchings said if Celik, an engineering student from Turkey, agreed to leave the country, he would be freed, as long as a police officer accompanied him to the Cincinnati airport to see that he departed on the flight to Turkey. Celik agreed.
However, he also faces a hearing Friday before 3rd District Judge Dennis Frederick, who could send him to prison for up to five years for violating probation granted on a felony theft conviction last year.
Defense attorney Kristine Rogers said the stalking conviction could be appealed on the argument that the 1992 law is broad, vague and violates free speech.
Celek was accused of stalking Basma Jazari, also an exchange student in engineering. He was accused of confronting Jazari around campus and insulting her in profane, lewd language.
The words were calculated to terrorize Jazari for jilting him, said Sim Gill, a city prosecutor.
"He's gone out to verbally kill this woman," Gill said in his closing statement. "If that meant humiliating and demeaning her in public, that's what he had to do."
Celik has been in custody since a Sept. 29 confrontation at the student union in which he allegedly threatened to emasculate Jazari's friends and then shoved her.
He said it was Jazari who harassed him, sending male friends after him and kissing them in front of him. His friends testified she was deliberately "driving him insane."
"All the incidents took place in a public area where there were a lot of people around," Rogers said. "His words and actions were offensive, but his intent was not to cause her emotional distress, but to get this woman to quit taunting and teasing him."
Celik said he staged the confrontations to provoke the university to review their dispute.
"Why isn't the resolution to just leave her alone?" Hutchings said before convicting Celik of assault and stalking, both Class B misdemeanors.
"This was an easy case to decide on the facts and the law," Hutchings told Celik. "Your conduct crossed the legal line. (It) was extremely dangerous."