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Publisher faces possible prison sentence at upcoming trial hearing

(WiPC/IFEX) - The following is an abridged version of a 17 March 2008 International PEN press release:

TURKEY: Fears that 8 April Trial Hearing Will Lead to Sentencing of Publisher Ragip Zarakolu

The Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN fears that a trial hearing on 8 April 2008 will end with the sentencing, possibly to a prison term, of publisher Ragip Zarakolu, who is charged with "insult" under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. International PEN protests the charges against Ragip Zarakolu which are in clear contradiction of international standards safeguarding the right to freedom of expression.

There have been numerous hearings against Ragip Zarakolu since the trial opened in March 2005. He is charged under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (formerly Article 159 of the old Penal Code) for "insulting the State" by publishing Dora Sakayan's An Armenian Doctor in Turkey: Garabed Hatcherian: My Smyrna Ordeal of 1922. Zarakolu faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

(. . . )

International PEN is deeply concerned that the 8 April 2008 trial hearing against Ragip Zarakolu may result in imprisonment. PEN has long campaigned against the application of this law as a clear deviation from the international standards safeguarding the right to freedom of expression to which Turkey is committed.

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