Thursday, 23 May 2013

Note that's there's nothing really polemical in what he said in his blog. He simply objectively described the facts presented in the standard biographic literature of the character Mohammed.
A Turkish-Armenian blogger vowed to appeal a day after an Istanbul court sentenced him to more than a year in prison for blasphemy.

In a phone interview with CNN, Sevan Nisanyan accused Turkey's Islamic-rooted government of politically persecuting him.

"When I attacked the Islamist establishment they felt I overstepped my boundaries," said Nisanyan, who is a member of Turkey's tiny Armenian ethnic minority. "Here I am an Armenian doing something no Armenian has done in a Muslim country. This is really the height of boldness, of impudence. This is something you are not supposed to do."

Read more: Group: Number of jailed journalists worldwide reaches record high
According to Turkey's semi-official Anatolian Agency, Nisanyan received a one year and 45-day jail sentence for "openly denigrating the religious values held by a certain portion of the population."

Anatolian reported that Nisanyan's initial nine-month jail sentence was extended because "the crime was committed through the press."

Turkey is a majority Muslim country.

Nisanyan said the court cited a passage in his blog published last September that referred to the international uproar triggered by cheaply made Hollywood film called the "Innocence of Muslims." The film, which ridiculed the most revered figure in Islam, the Prophet Mohammed, sparked violent protests in Egypt and Libya. The Turkish prime minister also denounced the movie as "Islamophobic," though protests on Turkish streets were small and peaceful.

On Wednesday, Nisanyan published an English translation of the passage in question from his September 2012 blog post:

"It is not 'hate crime' to poke fun at some Arab leader who, many hundred years ago, claimed to have established contact with Deity and made political, economic and sexual profit as a result. It is almost a kindergarten-level case of what we call freedom of expression," Nisanyan wrote.

Since the blog was published last year, Nisanyan said, prosecutors have taken him to court simultaneously for this passage in three separate courts across Turkey.

Nisanyan said he represented himself at the criminal court in Istanbul, without the help of an attorney. He acknowledged that he took a confrontational approach in his statement to the court, arguing that no one should be prosecuted for discussing the historical background of a religious figure.

"In consequence of his claim to have established contact with Deity, this Muhammed, who was a lowly merchant, acquired political dominion over all Arabian and gained the financial means to raise 30-thousand-strong armies," Nisanyan wrote, citing his statement to the court.

"It is an incontrovertible historical fact that this person made political, economic and sexual profit from his alleged contact with Deity."


In his interview with CNN, Nisanyan recognized that he was deliberately throwing fuel on the fire regarding his conviction.

"I'm hoping to contribute to the ongoing debate in this country on freedom of expression and freedom of religion," Nisanyan said. "I think I'm performing a useful public service."
Source: CNN

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