[Turkey] The trial of Fazıl Say continues

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On Monday 15 April, celebrated pianist, composer and writer Fazıl Say is due to appear in court for the third time for comments posted on Twitter. Say has been charged with religious defamation under Article 216/3 of the Turkish Penal Code in response to a series of messages he posted and re-tweeted, and under Article 218 of the Turkish Penal Code, which increases sentences by half for offences committed ‘via press or broadcast’. Say, who denies the charges, faces up to 18 months in prison if found guilty.

English PEN believes that the charges against Say are in violation of his right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Turkey is a signatory, and continues to call for them to be dropped immediately and unconditionally.

Say’s third hearing coincides with the opening of the London Book Fair (15-17 April), at which Turkey is this year’s market focus. English PEN is hosting a series of events with leading writers and publishers from Turkey at the Book Fair and at other venues in London, and will be raising our concerns around Say’s case and the continuing threats to free speech in Turkey.

Of additional concern to English PEN is the fact that our colleagues at PEN Turkey remain under investigation for ‘insulting the state’ in relation to critical comments about the ongoing prosecution of Say. The board of PEN Turkey along with poet and critic Nihat Ateş (who uploaded the content to the PEN Turkey website) were called in for questioning in January 2013 by the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office. We continue to urge Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin to drop the investigation against PEN Turkey at the earliest opportunity.

Further information on Fazıl Say’s case is available here.

English PEN Actions for Fazıl Say

TAKE ACTION

Send letters of appeal

  • Protesting the charges against Fazıl Say, which violate his right to free expression as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Turkey is a signatory;
  • Calling for the investigation against PEN Turkey to be dropped at the earliest opportunity.

Appeals to

Mr Sadullah Ergin
Minister of Justice
06669 Kizilay
Ankara
Turkey
Fax: 00 90 312 419 3370
Email: sadullahergin@adalet.gov.tr

His Excellency Mr. Ünal Çeviköz
43 Belgrave Square
London
SW1X 8PA
Fax: 020 7393 9213
Email: embassy.london@mfa.gov.tr

Or you could use the form below.  A sample letter is provided but it is always better if you put the appeal in your own words.

[ecampaign ‘to=embassy.london@mfa.gov.tr‘ subject=”In support of Fazıl Say”]

Your Excellency

I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to protest the charges against composer, musician and writer Fazıl Say.

According to PEN’s information, on Monday 15 April Fazıl Say is due to appear in court for the third time for comments posted on Twitter. Say has been charged with religious defamation under Article 216/3 of the Turkish Penal Code in response to a series of messages he posted and re-tweeted, and under Article 218 of the Turkish Penal Code, which increases sentences by half for offences committed ‘via press or broadcast’. 

I believe that the charges against Say are in violation of his right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Turkey is a signatory. I respectfully urge the Turkish authorities to drop all charges against him immediately and unconditionally.

I am also concerned that the board of PEN Turkey, English PEN’s sister centre, remain under investigation for ‘insulting the state’ in relation to critical comments about the ongoing prosecution of Say, and call on the Turkish authorities to drop this investigation at the earliest opportunity.

I would welcome your comments on my appeal.

Yours sincerely

[/ecampaign]

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