Human Rights

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Turkey Blasted Over Conviction of Anti-Government Artist on Charges of Denigrating Islam

Human rights and civil liberties groups are blasting Turkey after a Turkish court convicted one of the country’s top composers on charges of denigrating Islam. Pianist Fazil Say – a noted critic of the ruling Islamist government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan – was given a suspended sentence for making jokes about religious practices on Twitter.

The incident is being read against the backdrop of fears that Turkish officials are deliberately targeting intellectuals, artists, and journalists.Turkey already surpasses China and Iran as the world’s worst country in imprisoning journalists, and last month Human Rights Watch called on Turkish officials to pass legislation designed to stem endemic human rights violations inside the country.

In its 2013 annual report, the human rights watchdog Freedom House criticized the country for “jail[ing] hundreds of journalists, academics, opposition party officials, and military officers in a series of prosecutions aimed at alleged conspiracies against the state and Kurdish organizations.”

[Photo: AussieNewsOne / YouTube]