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IPA Freedom to Publish Prize winner Irfan Sanci acquitted

(IPA/IFEX) - 7 December 2010 - Publisher Irfan Sanci (Sel Yayincilik/Publishing), recipient of the "2010 IPA Freedom Prize - Special Award", and the translator of Guillaume Apollinaire's Adventures of the Young Don Juan, were acquitted in Istanbul today. IPA, which observed the trial, welcomes their acquittal, hoping this will lead to other publishers' acquittals and a significant decrease in freedom to publish trials in Turkey.

The owner of Sel publishing, Irfan Sanci, was being sued under Article 226 of the Turkish penal code (TPC; obscenity) for having published this book by Apollinaire, as well as Ben Mila's The Fairy's Pendulum, and Letters of a Learned and Well-mannered French Bourgeois Lady by P.V., facing up to nine years in jail.

Says Anders Heger, member of IPA's Freedom to Publish Committee, who represented IPA at the court hearing today: "IPA had been calling for the acquittal of Irfan Sanci and his translator. We are therefore very satisfied with this outcome, which we hope will lead to other publishers' acquittals and a significant decrease in freedom to publish trials in Turkey".


In May 2010, despite an experts' report from the Galatasaray and Bahcesehir Universities concluding that these three books published by Sel were works of literature, an Istanbul court decided to send these books to the Prime Ministerial Board for the Protection of Children from Harmful Publications for review, deciding whether they constitute literature or obscenity. This was a first for this Board established in 1927.

In February 2010, the European Court of Human Rights had condemned Turkey for violating Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights for having banned and condemned, already under Art. 226 TPC, another book by Guillaume Apollinaire: Eleven Thousand Rods published by Rahmi Akdas in 1999, ruling that censorship of Eleven Thousand Rods "hindered public access to a work belonging to the European literary heritage".

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