Turkish musician faces Twitter blasphemy charges

Protesters in Istanbul are rallying in support of musician Fazil Say’s right to express himself. The leading Turkish pianist and composer is facing blasphemy charges after he posted comments on his Twitter account allegedly ridiculing Islam.

The case has caused an outcry over Turkey’s attitude to freedom of speech, with the star’s supporters criticising authorities for putting him on trial.

Actor Rutkay Aziz says it is a crime to accuse the musician. “He is one of our international icons. He should be free to bring his compositions and performances to the world.”

An atheist, and a critic of Turkey’s conservative leaders, Say denies that his Twitter comments are blasphemous.

He faces up to eighteen months in prison if convicted.

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Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on April 15, 2013 at 3:14pm

Secular Turkey under attack as Islam gains momentum

Published on 15 Apr 2013

A 10-month suspended prison sentence has been handed down in Turkey to a renowned composer and pianist, over a series of tweets mocking Islam. Fazil Say was first charged with denigrating religion in June last year, facing up to 18 months behind bars at the time. The musician, once a cultural ambassador to the EU, is a high profile critic of the Islamic-led government of prime minister Tayyip Erdogan and says his punishment is purely political.
Amnesty International's researcher on Turkey, Andrew Gardner joins RT studio from Istanbul.

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