GOOD DAY FOR PRESS FREEDOM AS TURKISH JOURNALIST ACQUITTED
The verdict was hailed as a ?good day for press freedom in Turkey and a good day for Turkey" by CPJ board member Kati Marton. "We welcome the court's verdict that the book contained no insult to the armed forces. However, many other prosecutions for insulting state institutions still go forward," said Jonathan Sugden of HRW. "So long as Article 159 of the penal code remains on the statute book, all those who criticise the activities of ministries, parliament, or the security forces risk prosecution and imprisonment."
The prosecutor was given one week to appeal the verdict, but CPJ reports that it is not expected to do so. If it fails to file an appeal within a week, then the case will be considered closed and the ban on Mater's book will be lifted immediately. The ban dates back to 23 June 1999. Police subsequently confiscated unsold copies from the book's publisher, Metis Publishers. Before the ban took effect, however, ?Mehmed's Book? went through four editions and sold around 9,000 copies. Following the verdict, Mater thanked the international journalistic and rights organisations that supported her. "Once more we saw the importance of solidarity,? said Mater. ?I hope this case will be a model and an inspiration for journalists and writers in Turkey and elsewhere." Extracts from ?Mehmed?s book? are available on RSF?s website
http://www.rsf.fr. For more information on press conditions in Turkey, see the websites of HRW
http://www.hrw.org/hrw/wr2k/Eca-20.htm and CPJ