Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart wins press freedom prize
GENEVA – Agence France-Presse
Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart, who has been convicted of “aiding terrorist organizations” and sentenced to nearly four years in prison, was awarded a top prize on May 3 by the organization Cartooning for Peace.
The Swiss group hands out the honor, known as its International Editorial Cartoons Prize, every two years.
“The jury has chosen Musa Kart, iconic cartoonist of the Istanbul newspaper Cumhuriyet, for his talent and courage in defense of freedom of expression,” a statement from the group said.
Cumhuriyet, which means simply “Republic”, was set up in 1924 after the Turkish republic was founded in 1923.
A Turkish court last month handed out multiple sentences to 13 journalists and executives from the paper for “aiding and abetting terror organizations,” but the group remains free pending appeal.
Kart was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison and denies the allegations against him.
The prize was judged by an official from Geneva’s government, Human Rights Watch chair Kenneth Roth, along with cartoonists from leading publications including Le Monde, the New York Times and the New Yorker.
“Musa Kart is both a witness and especially a victim of the deterioration of freedom of expression in Turkey,” a Le Monde cartoonist known as Plantu said in a statement.