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Editor facing criminal charges over article on politician after being ordered to pay compensation in civil suit

(BIANET/IFEX) - A civil court has ruled that a website editor's article about a politician, published in a newspaper, was insulting and has ordered him to pay compensation. The editor is also now facing criminal charges that may net him three years in prison if convicted.

Yalcin Ergündogan, the editor-in-chief of the website, wrote an article entitled "The disciples have rebelled against Haydar Bas", which was published in the "Birgün" newspaper on 26 April 2005.

Haydar Bas, chair of the Independent Turkey Party (BTP), then demanded compensation.

The Beyoglu Fourth Civil Court of Peace has ruled Ergündogan must pay compensation of 1,500 YTL (around 850 Euros). His trial on criminal charges, which were laid following Bas's complaints, will start at the Beyoglu Second Penal Court on 26 December 2007. The prosecutor is demanding a three-year sentence.

Ergündogan has announced that he will appeal the court decision, saying "Is it not newsworthy that disciples who spent a long time with Haydar Bas, the chair of a party, have left the sect and have published their reasons on an Internet website (entitled 'The real face of Haydar Bas')?"

Ergündogan has also been taken to court by people said to be Bas's wives. They have also demanded compensation.

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