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Prosecutor sues reporter over contents of recently published book

(BIANET/IFEX) - 25 November 2010 - Osman Sanal, prosecutor in Erzincan (northeastern Anatolia), has filed a lawsuit against reporter Ilhan Tasci, of "Cumhuriyet" newspaper. The suit is linked to the journalist's recently published book, "Justice in a gown" ("Cuppeli Adalet").

The prosecutor filed a compensation claim against the journalist on the grounds of the book's cover which features a man with a green cap and a characteristic beard in a prosecutor's gown. Sanal's complaint is based on an alleged resemblance of that person to himself and on a number of statements in the book.

The "Cumhuriyet" daily announced that the person featured on the cover does not represent an actual person but was virtually created by designer Ahmet Sungur. The nation-wide paper criticised the trial. Tasci is facing a fine of up to TL15,000 (approx. €7,500) in compensation.

In his book, the journalist tried to reveal what was happening behind the scenes in the investigation into the Ismailaga congregation which eventually lead to the arrest of Ilhan Cihaner, then public prosecutor of Erzincan.

The first hearing in the trial against Tasci is scheduled for 27 January 2011 before the Ankara 1st Civil Court of First Instance.

Sanal's lawyer, Suleyman Salli, emphasised in the petition submitted to the court that his client has been working as a prosecutor in different places for eleven years. Salli put forward that the book harmed Sanal's professional career and his reputation.

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Tasci previously received an award from the Turkish Journalists Society (TGC) in the field of political news for his series entitled "The congregation could not be touched", published on 13 August 2009.

Prosecutor Sanal had also recently launched a legal case against "Radikal" newspaper reporter Ismail Saymaz on the grounds of his book, "The postmodern Jihad". Sanal was allegedly described as a "supporter of postmodernism" and took this as a reason to claim TL7,000 (approx. €3,500) in compensation from the journalist. Previously, the Erzurum Special Authority Public Prosecution had launched an investigation into the book.

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