– JOURNALISTS SENTENCED TO LONG TERM IMPRISONMENT FOR BLASPHEMY
– Lawyers says defendants will appeal verdict
JOURNALISTS SENTENCED TO LONG TERM IMPRISONMENT FOR BLASPHEMY
Two journalists in Turkey have been found guilty of blasphemy and subsequently sentenced to two years in jail for “insulting religious values” after they reprinted a controversial cover from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo above their columns.
According to Al-Jazeera, an Istanbul court on Thursday sentenced Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Cetinkaya to two years imprisonment for illustrating their columns with a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad published by French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
Counsel to the defendants, Bulent Utku has however said the journalists will appeal the judgement.
Speaking to AFP after the hearing in Instanbul,utku said, “the two journalists were sentenced to two years each in jail,” said Bulent Utku, lawyer for Hikmet Cetinkaya and Ceyda Karan. “We will appeal the ruling at the appeals court,”
Writing on her Twitter account @ceydak, Karan lashed out at the Turkish government, saying: “Let our two-year sentence be a gift for our liberal fascist’s #JeSuisCharlie,” Aljazeera reported.
Muslim Turkey’s constitution strictly separates state and religion, but its penal code makes it a crime to insult religion.
On January 14, 2015, Cumhuriyet published a four-page Charlie Hebdo pullout translated into Turkish marking the French satirical weekly’s first issue since a deadly attack on its Paris offices by gunmen earlier that month.
The edition included a smaller version of the cartoon twice inside the newspaper to illustrate columns on the subject by Karan and Cetinkaya.
Turjkish citizens have express different views of the sentence. One of the citizens held out that the Turkish government by sentencing the journalist to serve jail term is blocking the path to freedom of expression.
However others have argued that the jail term will guide against journalistic recklessness. An unnamed man reportedly said the move will make the journalists know how to write as a member of a definite community.
The latest sentencing comes barely after a similar incident in Mauritania. Just about a week ago, a federal high court in Mauritania upheld the death sentence of a blogger.
The blogger who is accused of apostasy and blasphemy had earlier been sentenced to death by a lower court.
The counsel to the Mauritanian blogger has however expressed optimism the supreme court would review the punishment.