Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dink faces new trial under Article 301

Tuesday, September 26, 2006
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

A prosecutor in Istanbul filed an indictment against Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, saying that he had committed the crime of “insulting Turkishness” under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

The case was opened for remarks Dink made in an interview with a foreign news agency in which he said the killings of Armenians in Turkey around the time of World War I constituted genocide, Anatolia news agency said yesterday. The remarks were published in Agos newspaper, of which Dink is the editor in chief, on July 21, 2006

Dink could face up to three years in prison if convicted.

Two other executives of Agos newspaper, Arat Dink and Serkis Seropyan, are also facing the same punishment.

This is the second case Dink faces a court under Article 301, which the European Union says restricts freedom of expression in Turkey.

In July, the Supreme Court of Appeals agreed to approve Agos a six-month suspended sentence for Dink for “insulting Turkishness.”

The Şişli Second Criminal Court had found Dink guilty of insulting Turkishness and sentenced him to a six-month suspended sentence. The Supreme Court of Appeals Ninth Bureau had reversed the suspension, arguing there was no doubt Dink was guilty of committing the crime. The decision to suspend the sentence by the Şişli Second Criminal Court was appealed by Dink, who is seeking acquittal rather than suspension, and the complainants. The Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor's Office had sought annulment of the sentence, arguing that the material and emotional elements of the crime “insulting Turkishness” had not taken place. The Ninth Bureau said there was no doubt Dink's statement, “The clean blood that will replace the poisoned blood of the Turk is present in the honored veins that will be established between the Armenian and Armenia,” insulted Turkishness. “It is impossible to justify belittling a society while praising another with the freedom of expression as defined by the European Convention on Human Rights,” the bureau said. Dink had argued that what he meant by the statement was that Armenians had the strength to overcome their destructive hatred of Turks.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.


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