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Turkish pianist goes on trial for insulting religious values

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 01:06

Oct. 18 - The trial of internationally acclaimed Turkish pianist Fazil Say for insulting Muslim religious values begins, stirring debate about freedom of expression. Simon Hanna reports.

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Supporters of internationally acclaimed Turkish pianist Fazil Say gather outside the Istanbul court where his trial began on Thursday. The 42-year-old is charged with insulting Muslim religious values on twitter. Say quoted a well known poem by 11th century Persian poet Omar Khayyam that ridiculed the hypocrisy of those claiming to be pious. Defiant demonstrators here brought a banner with the words of the poem written on it. One lawyer at the protest said the trial threatens Turkish freedom. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) GERMAN LAWMAKER OF TURKISH ORIGIN SEVIL DAGDELEN: "We believe that this case is mostly against freedom of expression. Therefore, I am here to stand in solidarity." Say has performed with orchestras in New York, Berlin, Israel, France and Tokyo, and served as a cultural ambassador to the European Union. His hearing was adjourned until February 2013 - if convicted the internationally renowned pianist could face 18 months in prison.

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Turkish pianist goes on trial for insulting religious values

Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 01:06