Turkish pianist finally cleared of insulting ‘Islamic values’
Back in 2012 we reported on the plight of internationally famous pianist, Fazil Say, who was arrested in Turkey for using the Internet to insult ‘Islamic values’.
Well, after a four-year judicial battle, Say has finally been exonerated by the Supreme Court of Appeals, which ruled by a majority vote that his Twitter posts should be regarded as freedom of thought and expression and that he should not be punished.
In a post on his Instagram account, Say thanked and congratulated his lawyer Meltem Akyol.
He had received a suspended 10-month prison sentence in April 2013 for retweeting lines written by the 11th-century Persian poet Omar Khayyam. Three people filed a criminal complaint to the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office, accusing him of blasphemy.
An Istanbul court later accepted Say’s appeal to cancel his sentence, paving way for a retrial.
In the September 2013 retrial, an Istanbul court sentenced Say to 10 months in prison but again suspended the sentence as the pianist had no previous criminal record.
He then appealed this verdict at the Supreme Court of Appeals, which ordered that the sentence against Say be reversed and that he be acquitted.
Among the lines attributed to Khayyam that Say retweeted was:
You say its rivers will flow in wine. Is the Garden of Eden a drinking house?
Hat tip: BarrieJohn