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Translator and publisher indicted, facing up to three years in jail

UPDATE: Trial for Burroughs and Palahniuk publishers will be postponed for three years (8 July 2012, Writers in Prison Committee)

(BIANET/IFEX) - Translator Funda Uncu and Ayrinti Publishing Company owner Hasan Basri Ciplak have been charged with "publishing obscenities" and are each facing imprisonment of between six months and three years for publishing the book "Olum Pornosu". The work is a Turkish translation of American author Chuck Palahniuk's novel "Snuff".

The indictment was prepared by Istanbul Public Prosecutor Ismail Onaran, who stated that many sections of the book contained graphic descriptions of sexual organs.

The indictment states that the book was sent to the Prime Ministerial Board for the Protection of Children from Harmful Publications because, as it contained no age warning, it could be obtained by young children.

The board ruled that the book contained many immoral and non-literary narratives, including the explicit depiction of sexual acts. Therefore, the book was found incompatible with public morality and deemed obscene.

The indictment stated that the concepts of morality differ in Turkey and the United States and that the book was released without any warning and without taking any precautions to prevent children from reading it. This, according to the indictment, constituted a crime.

In his defence speech, publisher Ciplak reminded the court that the book was written by a famous author. Ciplak put forward that the book was not pornography but rather it was a criticism of the commodification of women. He drew attention to the fact that this was the ninth book published by this writer.

Uncu said in her defence that this was the eighth book she had translated for the publishing company and that she just faithfully performed her job when she was given the book.

Uncu was to give a statement to the Istanbul Press Prosecution during the investigation, which was launched on 25 May 2011, but was in Bodrum, in the south of Turkey, at the time. She was called by the police and summoned to the police station "immediately" or she would be taken there by force, she was told.

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