PEN protests Fazıl Say jail sentence

English PEN is shocked that celebrated pianist, composer and writer Fazıl Say has received a ten-month suspended jail sentence for comments posted on Twitter. Last year, Say was charged with religious defamation under Article 216/3 of the Turkish Penal Code following a series of messages posted on Twitter. He was also charged under Article 218, which increases sentences by half for offences committed ‘via press or broadcast.’

Jo Glanville, Director of English PEN, said: ‘This is a case that should never have come to trial. When a figure as eminent as Fazıl Say is convicted, it sends a stark message to everyone in Turkey that the right to freedom of speech is severely restricted. Freedom of expression includes the freedom to provoke, outrage and offend. The suspended sentence handed down today is a significant chill for writers, journalists, publishers and activists in Turkey.’

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