Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Hooting Owl and More Evidence That 301 is Not Enough

Further demonstrating that Article 301 is not the only statute that restricts freedom of speech, İbrahim Özdabak, a cartoonist for the daily Yeni Asya, is currently facing charges under Article 125 of the Penal Code that makes it illegal to partake in actions that "offend the honor and dignity" of a person. The charges come after Özdabak drafted a cartoon featuring an owl hooting the words "hukuk" (law). The owl seems to personify Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalçınkaya, although Özdabak denies that this was his intention. To see the cartoon, you will have to go to the article because Today's Zaman does not allow it to be copy-and-pasted. The cartoonist is also facing charges under Article 126 that makes it a crime to insult someone in print without identifying the person. The charges provide proof that recent reform to Article 301 is likely to do little to stymie restrictions on free speech.

Apparently, law professor Vahit Bıçak has translated the Turkish Penal Code into English, so, for those interested, it is worth a definite look. Definitely a good resource to have.

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