Thursday, October 18, 2012

A prominent Turkish pianist and composer has been put on trial for insulting Islam

Fazil Say appeared in a cramped courtroom charged with “insulting religious values” in Twitter posts, accusations he rejected. The musician, who has performed with orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebow in the Netherlands, faces up to 18 months in jail if convicted. The case has drawn particular attention amid continuing debate, notably among Turkey’s traditional elites, over the impact on the country of 10 years of rule by the Justice and Development party, or AKP, which has Islamist roots. Liberals also express concern about the number of journalists in prison, now thought to be about 75, and other pressures on the media. “Fazil Say’s trial is another example of Turkey’s terrible record on freedom of expression,” said Ezgi Basaran, a Turkish columnist. “His tweets about Islam might have offended some people but not to get offended is not a human right.”

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