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Turkey2 May 2003

Former army chief of staff gives up any idea of appeal in lawsuit over "predator" photo

The Turkish army’s former chief of staff, Hüseyin Kivrikoglu, has abandoned any idea of appealing against a Paris court’s ruling rejecting his lawsuit against Reporters Without Borders over his inclusion in a display of photographs of predators of press freedom on a map of the world at Saint-Lazare station in Paris on the occasion of International Press Freedom Day last year (3 May 2002).

In its 29 January ruling against Kivrikoglu’s suit, which had claimed the display caused unwarranted harm to his public image, the court ordered him to pay costs and 2,000 euros in damages to Reporters Without Borders.

The organisation has decided to hand over this sum to the families of Mustafa Benli, Kemal Evcimen, Memik Horuz and Nureddin Sirin, who are in prison in Turkey for their part in publishing or broadcasting news which was deemed by the authorities to be a threat to public order or state unity but which was entirely within the right to freedom and diversity of expression.

To highlight the systematic harassment of Turkish journalists who dare to criticise the army and the fact that the army is accorded a permanent right to influence the country’s political life and press, Reporters Without Borders will include the photo of Kivrikoglu’s successor, Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, in its display of 42 predators of press freedom on the occasion of International Press Freedom Day tomorrow.

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