Turkish Court Sentences Founder of Popular Online Forum for Blasphemy

Turkey Blasphemy

Sedat Kapanoglu, the founder of Eksi Sozluk (sour Dictionary), one of Turkey’s most popular online forums, has been sentenced to ten months in prison for insulting religion.

A police complaint was filed in 2011 after a group of writers was accused of insulting Prophet Muhammad on one of the discussion threads opened by the website. After the filing of the complaint, 40 of the website’s members were detained by the police and charged with insulting religion on their thread.

According to the court, Kapanoglu was guilty of “insulting religious values shared by a group of people in society” and thus it deemed it fit to sentence him to ten months in jail. Eventually, the sentence was suspended, based on time passed since the crime had been committed and the means had been used.

Apart from sentencing Kapanoglu, the court also sentenced Ozgur Kuru to seven months and fifteen days in prison for the same charges. A third suspect, Altug Sahin, was acquitted by the court on grounds that it could not be determined whether he actually committed the crime by insulting religious beliefs. In addition, the court suspended cases against 37 others while stating that they would be retried if they were to commit the same crime within the next three years.

Photo Credits: Sedat Kapanoglu

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