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Journalist Perihan Magden sentenced for insulting a singer and a songwriter, ordered to pay fine

(BIANET/IFEX) - Former "Radikal" newspaper journalist Perihan Magden has been convicted for insulting songwriter Arif Sirin (also known as Ozan Arif) and singer Ismail Türüt in the media. Magden has been ordered to pay a fine of 3,480 TL (approx. 1,550 euros). She has said that she will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Magden criticised the video clip "Don't make a plan" in two articles.

In September 2007, an investigation was started into the song "Don't make a plan", composed by Sirin and sung by Türüt. It is said to include references to and praise of the suspected murderers of journalist Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of the weekly "Agos" newspaper. In addition, the song was put on the Internet website YouTube with a video clip about the murder.

The Beykoz 2nd Criminal Court decreed that Magden was guilty of insult when she criticised Türüt for praising the suspects in the murder of Hrant Dink and when she accused Arif of "fascism".

The two cases ended with a sentence of 174 days' imprisonment, converted to a 3,480 TL fine, on 12 March. Her lawyers took the sentence, which was not deferred, to the Supreme Court of Appeals.

However, because the sentence in a case needs to be at least 2,000 TL in fines, and because there were two cases, there was a debate as to whether the lawyers could apply to the appeals court. Finally, they tried to appeal with the two cases as one.

The defence lawyer said in court that the articles as a whole did not represent insults, and that they were meant as criticisms. However, the court rejected the plea for an acquittal.

The articles, both published in the "Radikal" newspaper, were: "Don't make a plan/Let a jackal eat his mother" (18 September 2007) and "Terribly Personal Article" (16 October 2007).

Speaking to the "Agos" newspaper, Magden accused the lawyers of the plaintiffs of having taken the case to the Beykoz court with the help of fake addresses of their clients. She added that the refusal of the court to merge the two cases meant that she had been prevented from appealing to the Supreme Court of Appeals.

She added, "While the clip and song lyrics that honour the murderers of Hrant Dink are creating new murderers and encouraging people to commit murder, my conviction is exemplary. Just like Hrant Dnik and his son were given unjust punishments, I have been punished for defending Hrant Dink. I am going to take the decree to the ECHR to set an example."

For the song's lyrics, see:
http://tinyurl.com/cmvh66

For further information on the Hrant Dink case, see:
http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/100374

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