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US appeals court rejects Armenian 'genocide' denial curriculum

WASHINGTON — Agence France-Presse | 8/12/2010 12:00:00 AM |

A U.S. appeals court in Massachusetts on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling that prevented the insertion of literature denying an alleged genocide against Armenians into a state school curriculum.

A U.S. appeals court in Massachusetts on Wednesday upheld a lower court ruling that prevented the insertion of literature denying an alleged genocide against Armenians into a state school curriculum.

The Armenian Assembly of America said the ruling "marks a major defeat" for a 2005 lawsuit brought by the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, or ATAA.

A lower court in December 2009 dismissed the lawsuit brought by ATAA, which appealed the decision in June of the same year.

The appeals court said Wednesday that the Guide on Armenian Genocide instruction "fit into the curriculum classification ... [and] that law would not allow the genocide denial actions that the plaintiffs sought."

The ruling "sends a clear message to Turkey and its revisionist allies that history cannot be rewritten to further Ankara's state-sponsored denial campaign," said Armenian Assembly Board of Trustees Chairman Hirair Hovnanian.

"Given the overwhelming historical and legal evidence documenting the incontestable fact of the Armenian genocide, this ruling is a victory for all those concerned about genocide education and prevention," said Board President Carolyn Mugar.

Armenians maintain that at least 1.5 million of their people were systematically killed between 1915 and 1917 as the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of modern Turkey, was falling apart.

Turkey categorically rejects the genocide label and says between 300,000 and 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks perished in civil strife as the empire crumbled.

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