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Turkey15 June 2007

Murdered newspaper editor’s son and three other journalists charged with “insulting Turkish identity”

Reporters Without Borders condemns the decision to prosecute Arat Dink, the son of slain Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, and three other journalists employed by his newspaper, the weekly Agos, for “insulting Turkish identity” under article 301 of the criminal code.

The Istanbul prosecutor’s office requested a six-month prison sentence for Arat Dink when he appeared in court yesterday in Istanbul as his father’s successor as editor of Agos. The three other Agos journalists charged with him are Serkis Seropyan, Aydin Engin and Karin Karakashli. Dink’s father was gunned down outside the newspaper on 19 January.

“Once again we have to denounce the use of article 301 of the criminal code, which is a threat to freedom of expression,” Reporters Without Borders said. “A prosecution was also initiated against Erdal Dogal, one of the Dink family’s lawyers on 7 June.”

Agos’ staff is being prosecuted for republishing an interview Hrant Dink gave to Reuters in July 2006 in which he referred to the 1915 Armenian genocide and urged Armenians “to turn now towards the new blood of independent Armenia, which alone is capable of freeing them from the weight of the Diaspora.”

Prior to his murder, Hrant Dink received a six-month suspended sentence for these comments, which the newspaper reproduced as part of a series entitled “The Armenian Identity.”

The trial of 18 people accused of participating in Hrant Dink’s murder is due to open in Istanbul on 2 July.

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