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Two cartoonists under investigation for caricatures deemed insulting to the president, could face four years in prison

(IPI/IFEX) - The following is a 24 January 2008 IPI press release:

IPI criticises legal proceedings against two Turkish cartoonists

The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 120 countries, strongly criticises the preliminary proceedings brought against Turkish cartoonists Musa Kart and Zafer Temocin. Both cartoonists are being investigated for caricatures considered insulting to the President.

According to information before IPI, Musa Kart and Zafer Temocin, both cartoonists for the Turkish daily Cumhürryet, are facing criminal proceedings for caricatures that are deemed to have breached Turkish legislation criminalising insults to the President. In the cartoon drawn by Kart, the President is depicted as a scarecrow in a cornfield. In Temocin's cartoon, the President is pictured sitting in a money-filled envelope held by an Arabian prince. If the two cartoonists are successfully prosecuted, they face four years imprisonment.

"The proceedings brought against Kart and Temocin are deeply disappointing. At a time when the international community is encouraging the Turkish government to ease its restrictions on freedom of expression, it appears that it may be moving in the opposite direction," said David Dadge, IPI Director. "This latest matter occurs in a week in which over ten newspapers were fined, and the anniversary of the murder of Hrant Dink came and went without any sign of the reforms to Article 301 mentioned in the weeks after his death. We strongly urge the Turkish to authorities to drop all the charges against Kart and Temocin."

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