Turkish-Armenian writer jailed for ‘blasphemy’

Photo: www.asbarez.com
Photo: www.asbarez.com

An Istanbul court has sentenced a Turkish-Armenian author and blogger to a jail term for allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammad, reports Reuters, citing Turkish media.

Sevan Nisanyan was sentenced to one year and 45 days for a blog post last year entitled “Hate speech needs to be combated” in which he wrote:

“It is not hate speech to make fun of an Arab leader who claimed he had contacted Allah hundreds of years ago and received political, financial and sexual benefits accordingly. It is a test of freedom of expression at an almost kindergarten-level.”

Just over a month ago, world-renowned concert pianist Fazil Say was handed a suspended jail sentence for insulting religious values on Twitter, including one tweet poking fun at a muezzin, someone who makes the Muslim call to prayer. Say’s sentence stirred passions about the role religion should play in Turkish public life.

Media reported that the sentence passed on Nisanyan could not be converted to a financial penalty but that the man had a right to appeal.

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