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Sevan Nisanyan: Turkish-Armenian blogger jailed for blasphemy

Turkish-Armenian blogger Sevan Nisanyan was sentenced on Wednesday to a year in jail for blasphemy over a blog supporting a controversial anti-Islam film.

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A placard is pictured during a protest gathering journalists and human right activists in front of the courthouse in Istanbul during the trial of two prominent Turkish journalists Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener on Nov. 22, 2011. (Mustafa Ozer/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkish-Armenian blogger Sevan Nisanyan was sentenced on Wednesday to a year in jail for blasphemy over a blog supporting a controversial anti-Islam film.

A Turkish court found Nisanyan guilty of "publicly insulting the religious values of part of the population" in a 2012 post he wrote about "Innocence of Muslims," which sparked protests across the Arab world. He was sentenced to one year and 45 days in prison, higher than the usual nine months, because the offense was committed through the press.

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"Mocking an Arab leader who centuries ago claimed to have contacted God and made political, financial and sexual benefits out of this is not a crime of hatred," Nisanyan wrote in the blog in question.

Prosecutors accused him of "overstepping the boundaries of freedom of speech and criticism" and said his article served to "disturb public order."

"When I attacked the Islamist establishment they felt I overstepped my boundaries," Nisanyan told CNN. "Here I am an Armenian doing something no Armenian has done in a Muslim country. This is really the height of boldness, of impudence. This is something you are not supposed to do."

Since the blog was posted last year, Nisanyan said prosecutors have taken him to court simultaneously for the above passage in three separate courts across Turkey.

The country has been criticized by international press freedom organizations in previous years for having more journalists in jail than any other country.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/turkey/130523/sevan-nisanyan-turkish-armenian-blogger-jailed-blasphemy