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ICC Note:
“The prosecutions of – among others – a cartoonist, a contributor to a website, and the publisher of a diary have raised concerns about how the complementary human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief can be exercised in Turkey,” Forum 18 News Service reports.
By Mine Yildirim
2/15/2012 Turkey (Forum 18 News Service) – The prosecutions of – among others – a cartoonist, a contributor to a website, and the publisher of a diary have raised concerns about how the complementary human rights of freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief can be exercised in Turkey, including the religious freedom right not to believe. All the prosecutions relate to questioning or criticism of all religions, or Islam specifically, from an atheist perspective. Article 216 (3) of the Criminal Code (“Denigrating the religious values of a group”) is the legal basis of the prosecutions. The manner in which Article 216 (3) is applied is of great importance in enabling Turkey to implement its international human rights obligations, Forum 18 News Service notes. Restrictions must not be applied “recklessly”, as human rights lawyer Orhan Kemal Cengiz puts it. For this silences critics of religions or beliefs, and the right to make such criticism is an integral part of the right to freedom of religion or belief.

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