Turkish pianist handed jail term in blasphemy retrial


Sat, Sep 21, 2013 - Page 6

An Istanbul court again handed a 10-month suspended jail term yesterday to world-renowned Turkish pianist Fazil Say during a retrial over social media posts deemed religiously offensive, his lawyer said.

Say, who was not present at the hearing, was also placed on a two-year probation, his lawyer Meltem Akyol said, adding that he planned to appeal the verdict.

Say was originally sentenced on April 15 for allegedly inciting religious hatred and insulating Islamic values in a series of tweets he posted last year. A higher Istanbul court then overturned the conviction on “procedural flaws” and a retrial was ordered.

The 43-year-old, who has played with the philharmonic orchestras of Berlin, New York, Tokyo and Israel, shrugged off the latest sentence.

“Tomorrow, I will continue to live and to produce,” he tweeted. “By continuing to live, by continuing to think as a free man, I will produce even better work.”

Say was prosecuted for a series of tweets criticizing Muslims, one of which said: “I am not sure if you have also realized it, but all the pricks, low-lives, buffoons, thieves, jesters, they are all Allahists. Is this a paradox?”