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"The God Delusion" publisher faces charges of "inciting people to hatred"

(BIANET/IFEX) - The chief public prosecutor in Istanbul's Sisli district has brought an action against publisher Erol Karaaslan of Kuzey Publications for "inciting people to hatred and hostility or denigration."

Last year, a complaint brought by another individual, Emre Bukagili, over the Turkish translation of "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins resulted in a court case in which the publisher was acquitted on 2 April 2008.

Now a complaint by Sonia Eskinazi, who says that the book insults Judaism, Allah and the prophets, has resulted in a new court case.

On 30 October, Eskinazi filed her complaint, in which she said that the 360-page book contained insults to the Jewish religion, Allah, and prophets much-loved by Jews. Five particular pages have been cited in the indictment for overstepping the mark of criticism and inciting hatred or denigration.

Karaaslan will be tried in the Sisli Second Criminal Court on 16 June. As in the first case, the articles that will be brought before the court are Articles 216/1-3 and 54 of the Turkish Penal Code. The publisher faces up to four years' imprisonment.

At the publisher's earlier acquittal on 2 April, the court had cited an expert's report that concluded that there was no sign of insult to Islam. The report also said that the book offered a balance of opinions and that there was no need to confiscate it.

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