LOCAL > Turkish-Armenian scribe sentenced to 13 months for blasphemy in blog post


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An Istanbul court has sentenced Turkish-Armenian writer Sevan Nişanyan to 58 weeks in prison. DHA Photo

An Istanbul court has sentenced Turkish-Armenian writer Sevan Nişanyan to 58 weeks in prison. DHA Photo

An Istanbul court has sentenced Turkish-Armenian writer Sevan Nişanyan to 58 weeks in prison for an alleged insult to the Prophet Muhammad in a blog post.

The prosecutor had been seeking one and a half years of jail time for Nişanyan on charges of “insulting the religious beliefs held by a section of the society.”

The sentence cannot be converted to a financial penalty, but Nişanyan has the right to appeal.

He was charged with blasphemy after writing a blog post titled, “[We] need to fight hate speech.”
“Making fun of an Arab leader who claimed he contacted Allah hundreds of years ago and received political, financial and sexual benefits is not hate speech,” Nişanyan said in his post last year. “It is an almost kindergarten-level test of what is called freedom of expression.”

On May 22, the day of the sentencing, Nişanyan retweeted his blog post, writing, “Let’s share the article that was sentenced to 13-and-a-half months at the Istanbul 10th Criminal Court for insulting religious bla-bla.”

Last month, renowned Turkish pianist Fazıl Say was also handed a suspended 10-month prison sentence for blasphemy, after a case that drew national and international reaction.

Say had been the focus of a legal battle after he retweeted several lines, attributed to poet Omar Khayyam in April 2012, saying, “You say its rivers will flow in wine. Is the Garden of Eden a drinking house? You say you will give two houris to each Muslim. Is the Garden of Eden a whorehouse?”


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Notice on comments

MuratKaz Kaz

6/10/2013 4:37:28 AM

There is something disturbing going on here-turkey which claims to be a secular nation is on a witch hunt scouring blogs and tweets for anti Turkish or anything regarding Islam that is deemed unacceptable. Yet we have discriminatory remarks toward Turkish Armenians even brutal attacks up to and including stabbings of elderly Armenian woman, one left blind the other killed with a cross carved into her chest. Loyal Turkish soldier of Ermeni descent killed and no further investigation.

mara mcglothin

5/29/2013 5:56:26 AM

SINAN As I recall, which you wouldn't know, Jesus turned water to wine and that was the main staple all those years ago. It is beside the point. Since their are others who live in this World besides Muslims, why should they make the rules. In the end, we all have to meet our maker and atone for the sins we have committed. God it the judge, and no one else. Who is to say that drinking alcohol in moderation is worse or the same as coveting your neighbor's wife or car? To each his own.

Can Oz

5/25/2013 6:39:16 AM

May God protect Sevan Nişanyan from Sunni nationalist reprisals.


5/24/2013 2:21:00 AM

Hans-Joachim Zierke, I don't think I've misunderstood it. The German blasphemy law punishes blasphemy if it might disturb public peace. Turkish penal code also punishes blasphemy if it might disturb peace. I'm not a lawyer, but I've checked, Mr Nişanyan was punished for violating article 216/3 of the Turkish penal code, which cites disturbance of public peace as a condition. For me, there should be no blasphemy laws at all. There are other laws which already cover disturbance of public peace.

Hans-Joachim "Terrorist" Zierke

5/23/2013 7:58:41 PM

Baris, you misunderstood something: As long as you criticize a religion in Germany, and use at least rudimentary traces of argumentation, nothing is going to happen to you. The courts will always upheld free speech. Getting in trouble with our blasphemy law is only possible, if hurting others is the sole purpose, beyond any doubt. The guy could have printed Mohammad cartoons without problem.

Murun Buchstansangur

5/23/2013 7:42:09 PM

A proper little armchair warrior aren't you? As a member of a minority who benefits from the protection of Western-style democracy, you are always on here telling people living in Turkey how it should be. Not very convincing.

Brit in Turkey

5/23/2013 7:25:12 PM

If you wish to see an example of the tolerance of the west to Christianity go see "Jesus Christ Superstar" a rock opera currently playing in Broadway, I think, but returning to the UK later in the year. It was written by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, one of the most celebrated musical writers in Britain today. For the uninitiated it depicts the last week of Jesus' life set to rock music, and contains items not found in the Bible.

Daniel Yabancison

5/23/2013 7:12:39 PM

@Mark Mark, he was probably educated in one of those Imam-Hatip schools that AKP and Diyanet funded in other countries to spread Islam.

american american

5/23/2013 5:12:53 PM

so why is it ok for turks to mess with german values?

Jonny Carson

5/23/2013 4:55:47 PM

please wait for your comment to be approved.....censorship....
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