Turkey: Blasphemy ruling reversed for pianist Say

12 November 2015


Pianist Fazıl Say may no longer face a ten-month jail sentence for blasphemy charges related to his tweets as Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the decision, saying his social media posts fall within the realm of freedom of expression, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

The court ruled by majority – four to one – that Fazıl Say’s twitter posts should be regarded as freedom of expression and thought, and thus should not be punished.

The Supreme Court’s decision will now revert to the original court that issued the sentence. If that court accepts the decision, Say will be acquitted of the charges; however, if that court does not accept, the judicial process will continue for the pianist.

Say went to trial in October 2012 for posting a quote on Twitter from Persian poet Omar Khayyam that “insulted religious values” according to Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code. The judicial process has been ongoing in retrials and appeals ever since.

The pianist had been handed a suspended ten-month sentence in 2013 since he had no criminal record and was ordered to be monitored.

Say, an open atheist, was awarded the 2015 International Secularism Prize by the France Committee of Secularism in October 2015.




» National Secular Society – 29 October 2015:
Turkish musician Fazıl Say awarded 2015 International Secularism Prize

» Hurriyet Daily News – 26 October 2015:
Top appeals court reverses blasphemy decision against Turkish pianist Say


Related information

» – 14 February 2013:
Pianist Fazıl Say in court for the second time

» – 13 June 2012:
Acclaimed pianist charged for blasphemy



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