Turkish-Armenian writer gets jail sentence for blasphemy

An Istanbul court has sentenced a Turkish-Armenian author and blogger to more than a year in prison for insulting the Prophet Mohammad

Turkish-Armenian writer gets jail sentence for blasphemy

A Turkish court has handed down a prison sentence of one year, 45 days to Sevan Nişanyan, a Turkish-Armenian journalist, for blasphemous remarks he made about the Prophet Muhammad in an article he wrote in his blog last September.

In the article, titled “Hate crimes should be fought,” Nişanyan voiced his support for a controversial anti-Muslim movie that sparked violent protests in many Muslim majority countries.

Clips of the movie, posted on YouTube under several titles including “Innocence of Muslims,” portrayed the Muslim Prophet engaged in crude and offensive behavior. Many Muslims consider any depiction of the Prophet to be blasphemous.

Nişanyan said in his column that “mocking an Arab leader who centuries ago allegedly contacted God and made political, financial and sexual benefits out of this is not a crime of hatred,” but that it is freedom of speech.

The 14th İstanbul High Criminal Court decided to give 410 days of prison time to Nişanyan on Wednesday on charges of “publicly ridiculing religious values endorsed by one segment of the society.” The court also refused to postpone the enforcement of the decision, citing his previous criminal record.

Nişanyan didn't show up at the first court hearing in the İstanbul court on Wednesday, but plaintiffs Birsen Koneralp, Galip Karayiğit, Hasan Temiz, Veysi Barak and Ali Keskin attended the hearing.

The court initially decided to give Nişanyan a nine-month prison sentence and increased the punishment by five months as the “crime” was committed through media.

The indictment prepared by the İstanbul Public Prosecutor's Office claimed that the article spawned a wave of criticism, reactions and debates in public and that the column “destroyed the public peace.”

The indictment noted that the writing could not be protected under freedom of speech because Nişanyan “exceeded the limits of criticism” and “publicly ridiculed religious values of one segment of the society.”

The indictment demanded up to one-and-a-half years of prison time for Nişanyan.

Cihan

Last Mod: 22 Mayıs 2013, 23:01
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