Court sentences founder of popular online forum for blasphemy
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Sedat Kapanoğlu, the founder of one of Turkey’s most popular online forums, Ekşi Sözlük, is sentenced to10 month for insulting religion.
A Turkish court has given Sedat Kapanoğlu, the founder of one of Turkey’s most popular online forums, Ekşi Sözlük (Sour Dictionary), a 10 month suspended sentence for blasphemy.
A police complaint was filed regarding writers of a discussion thread opened on the website in 2011, alleging insults to the Prophet Muhammad. Some 40 of the website’s members were detained by the police and charged with insulting religion on the thread. The court ruled that Kapanoğlu had committed the crime of “insulting the religious values shared by a group of society” and sentenced him to the 10 months in jail. The court suspended the sentence, based on the time passed since the crime was committed and the means used for it.
The court also sentenced suspect Özgür Kuru to seven months and 15 days in jail on the same charges, while also suspending the execution of this sentence. The court acquitted a third suspect, Altuğ Şahin, on the grounds that it could not be detected whether he actually committed the crime of “insulting religious beliefs.” The court also decided to suspend the cases against other 37 suspects. However, suspects would be retried if they commit the same crime within three years.