Saturday, 10 November 2007

Turkish singer and composer on trial for YouTube clip praising Hrant Dink murder

Bianet reports that singer Ismail Türüt and composer Arif Sirin [also known as “Bard” Sirin], as well as two other people are on trial in Turkey charged with creating a clip on YouTube "praising a criminal" and "inciting hatred and hostility". Up to 7.5 years imprisonment are demanded.

The clip which was shown on YouTube was a collage of images referring to the murder of Hrant Dink, accompanied by Sirin's song, with an intent of praising the murder suspects of the journalist.

According to “Agos” newspaper, the prosecution is demanding up to 7.5 years imprisonment for Sirin, Türüt and the two other defendants.

The Istanbul Police Department found out that the clip was put onto YouTube by Hakan Öztekin, who used the nickname “MICHeCK” and Zeynel Abidin Mutlu who used the nickname “dafmaniac” and used an internet provider in Austria.

Öztekin claims that there was no criminal intent in the preparation of the clip, while Mutlu said that it was supposed to be an advertisement.

Clear connection to Hrant Dink murder

However, prosecutor Nurten Altinok came to the conclusion that the clip contained praise of Hrant Dink’s murder and those responsible for it, as well as incitement to violence. The indictment found direct references in the song to the murder of Dink. According to the indictment, the line “Stop ringing (church) bells, stop being pro-Armenian” refer to the mourners at Dink’s funeral who carried placards reading “We are all Armenian”; the lines “If a person sells the homeland, business ends immediately, The sun of the Turk and Islam does not set at the Black Sea” incited hatred and hostility towards people who were not Turkish or not Muslims.

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