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Sports writer faces indictment on defamation charge

(BIANET/IFEX) - Istanbul Public Prosecutor Ismail Onaran has prepared an indictment against journalist and writer Hincal Uluc on charges of defamation, based on Article 125 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK). Uluc is alleged to have insulted Adnan Sezgin, the sports director for the renowned Galatasaray football club.

Should the indictment be accepted by the Istanbul Magistrate Criminal Court, the journalist would face a prison term of anywhere from three months to two years relating to an article published in the "Photomatch" newspaper.

The charges are based on an article entitled, "It has become a tradition", published in Uluc's newspaper on 27 July 2010, and on statements he made on a television programme. The indictment alleges that the contents of both the article and the statements on the programme were "far from criticism" and constituted an "insult to the complainant".

The article dealt with the failure of the Galatasaray football team to win over its opponent Fenerbahce. It read, "Adnan Sezgin, who was appointed as head of the team, comes and goes in the BMW that was allocated to him by the club, he does not go by bus. Would the great Adnan Sezgin stoop to enter a bus! He comes and goes with his 735 BMW. Who knows - we do not know who he takes for a ride!"

Additionally, on a television programme, Uluc said, "Everybody knows that Adnan Sezgin is not a Galatasaray fan. The entire Galatasaray community knows that Sezgin distributed the money against signatures, the so-called incentive premium that came from the Istanbulspor football club, to defeat Galataray."

According to the indictment, Uluc said that he was not the only one who wrote about the money paid by Istanbulspor, that another newspaper reported about the incident as well, that there is almost no journalist left who has not written about the issue and that Sezgin did not declare the allegation to be false.

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