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Turkey16 July 2007

Three Agos journalists back in court again this week

Reporters Without Borders condemns the prosecution of the owner of the Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, Serkis Seropyan, his editor Arat Dink, and one his reporters, Aydin Engin, who are due to appear before a criminal court in Sisli, Istanbul, on 18 July. Seropyan and Dink are charged with “insulting Turkish identity” under article 301 of the criminal code. Engin is accused of insulting the court. They face between six months and three years in prison. Dink is the son of slain Agos editor Hrant Dink.

“We must condemn this trial, especially the use of article 301, which represents a serious threat to free expression, and we call on the judges to issue a verdict in accordance with democratic values and the rule of law,” the press freedom organisation said.

Seropyan and Dink are being prosecuted because of what Hrant Dink said in an interview for Reuters in July 2006 about the 1915 Armenian genocide. Engin is being prosecuted because of a column published on 14 October 2005 in which he criticised the judicial system’s incompetence in connection with the Agos trials.

Seropyan, Dink and Engin were acquitted on 14 June of “trying to pervert the course of justice” under article 288 of the criminal code in connection with the same Engin column.

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