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Turkey12 October 2007

Arat Dink convicted of “insult to turkish identity” after publishing article about his father Hrant Dink

Reporters Without Borders today voiced “outrage” at a one-year prison sentence against the son of murdered journalist Hrant Dink, Arat Dink, editor-in-chief of the weekly Agos, and his editor Serkis Seropyan, using the same law under which his father had been prosecuted.

A court in the Sisli district of Istanbul found Arat Dink and Serkis Seropyan guilty of “insulting Turkish identity” for publishing an interview in Agos which Hrant Dink gave to Reuters in 2006 in which he termed as genocide the massacres of Armenians from 1915-17, remarks for which Hrant Dink was prosecuted at the time.

The one-year jail sentence was suspended against both men because neither had any previous convictions

“It is a complete aberration for this decision to come now, after Turkish President Abdullah Gull said on 3 October that he was in favour of an amendment to Article 301 which makes it a crime to refer to the Armenian genocide”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

“Ironically, the same court yesterday handed down a two-year suspended prison sentence against a youth who threatened the editorial staff of Agos, after Hrant Dinks’s murder,” the organisation said.

Ridvan Dogan, 19, admitted sending threats to Agos but claimed that he had forwarded the threats without reading the contents of the email. The court suspended his sentence because he had expressed regret and because he had committed no previous offences.

Several Agos journalists had to be given police protection because of the threats received just a few days after the 19 January 2007 murder of Hrant Dink outside the newspaper’s offices by 17-year-old Ogun Samast.

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