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A Turkish publisher who refused to abandon his campaign for freedom of thought - despite being given a three-year jail sentence - is this year's winner of the International Publishers' Association (IPA) Freedom to Publish Prize.

Since starting his publishing house Belge with his wife Ayse Nur in 1977, Ragip Zarakolu has been constantly at the receiving end of the wrath of the Turkish authorities. The charges they brought against him and Nur resulted in jail time for the couple, confiscation and destruction of books, and the imposition of heavy fines, endangering the survival of Belge. But Zarakolu refused to give up his campaign for free expression, saying he fought "for an attitude of respect for different thoughts and cultures to become widespread in Turkey."

The Freedom to Publish Prize honours a person or an organisation that has made an important contribution to the defence and promotion of freedom to publish anywhere in the world. This year, the prize, worth 5,000 Swiss Francs (US$4,800), will be presented to Zarakolu at the International Seminar on Neo-Censorship in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in September.

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(20 May 2008)

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