November 10th, 2012 22:25 EST
Press Statement of Mr. Ali Emre Bukagili, the Plaintiff of Fazil Say Case
Regarding the criminal case initiated against FazÄ±l Say in the Criminal Court of Peace Number 19 charging him with the crime of openly degrading religious values ",there have been many news reports that are far from the truth and misleading the public in both the local and foreign press. The majority of these news reports included many accusations against me, other complainants and our attorneys. I would like to draw the below points regarding these news reports to the attention of the public:
1. I call on those who criticize the opening of a public prosecution against FazÄ±l Say, who put pen to paper to support him and who come to the court house and protest on his behalf, before all else to read the statements of FazÄ±l Say in Twitter, since I think those people are not fully informed of the subject matter statements.
For this reason, I am obliged to quote only some of the statements of FazÄ±l Say which were published in Twitter, and which he declared to be his own statements during the ongoing judicial process (Almighty Allah and the believers are beyond that).
Whereever there is jack-off, (a) cheap-jack, (a) thief, (a) jester, all are Allahist ", Is Heaven a barrel house, is Heaven a whorehouse? " God.. is it something for which you`ll become an animal and kill? ", (The) Muezzin (person who calls for prayer) recited the azan (Islamic call for prayer) in 22 seconds... what`s the rush, dear? Is it the raki* table?
*raki: an anise-flavored alcholic drink popular in Turkey
2. It is evident that the words like jack-off ", jester ", cheap-jack "that FazÄ±l Say used are defamatory and the addressee of these words are the believers whom he himself calls Allahist ". By these words, FazÄ±l Say accuses all people who believe, whether they are Muslims, Christians or Jews, by changing attitudes according to the person and modifying their character as per benefit ", to ingratiating themselves in order to profit themselves ", being base, despicable, low-quality, shabby, unworthy, vicious " and stealing others` property and labor in an unlawful and illegal way ".
3. No self-respecting person would remain silent against being called a jack-off ", thief ", or jester ". I am quite certain that none of the critics of FazÄ±l Say`s public prosecution would accept being the addressee of even a single one of these defamatory and profane words. If anyone were to use these defamatory words against those who criticize a public criminal case file being opened against FazÄ±l Say, they would certainly take legal actions to protect their honor and dignity.
4. It is therefore certainly not possible for us to keep silent on the face of these defamations which I spoke of in detail above, and which are made against the personality of the believers and sacred values and hence against myself and all other complainants who are believers, since these words are statements that aim to insult our honor, dignity, personality and values that we deem sacred and to degrade and abase us. In the face of such a situation, it is fully within our rights to resort to jurisdiction.
5. Some media organs claim that FazÄ±l Say represents comtemporaneity, modernity, democracy, and upon this rationale try to make an impression to the public that he has the right to say whatever he wants on any subject matter. However, our country is a state of law that constitutes 80 million people with different values and cultures. Each individual is equal in our state of law where no one has the privilege to commit a crime.
6. We fully support freedom of thought and speech. Both myself and other complainants are democrats and intellectuals who long for the ending of war, terror, bloodshed and the prevailance of not hatred and lovelessness, but love, peace, serenity and happiness not only in our country but throughout the entire world. Moreover, we are educated people who believe in freedom of thought, and desire that people respect each other`s culture and values and live a prosperous life. Yet we are against defamation. Everyone should live according to his own world view, yet should not impose these thoughts and values to another by force and should not offend any other by talk, attitude and behavior due to his beliefs and values. We should always bear in mind that freedom of speech does not include defamation. Criticism, declaring a thought, explaining an opinion are all legal rights. Yet assaulting others` personality, honor and beliefs while doing so is an offense.
7. As a matter of fact, not only in our country, but in all democratic legal systems such actions are banned. In many European countries, insulting religion and belief is legislated as a crime. For instance;
Â· Articles 130 and 131 of the German Penal Code
Â· Article 24 of the 1881 Frence Press Code and Article 625/7 of the French Penal Code
Â· Articles 414/3 and 415 of the Italian Penal Code
Â· Article 261 of the Swiss Penal Code
Â· Articles 212, 256 and 257 of the Polish Penal Code
Â· Article 282 of the Russian Federaton Penal Code
Â· Articles 29B-29G of the English Public Order Act dated 1986
Â· Article 266 of the Danish Penal Code
Â· Articles 188, 282 and 283 of the Austrian Penal Code
Â· Articles 9 and 16/8 of the Swedish Penal Code
Â· Articles 510, 511, 512, 513, 514, 515, 516, 517, 518, 519 520 and 521 of the Spanish Penal Code
Â· Article 11/8 of the Finnish Penal Code
ban defamation against religion and faith.
Many judicial proceedings have been enforced and are still being enforced based on the subject matter articles in the European countries. To give an example of some of the cases regarding this is the case of Susanne Winter from the Freedom of Party of Austria (FPÃ–) who insulted the Prophet Muhammad (saas) and was subsequently convicted with a deferred prison sentence of 3 months and a fine of 24,000 Euros which was upheld on appeal. Also in Denmark, Jesper Langballe, a Member of Parliament from the Danish People`s Party (DF), was put on trial and found guilty and first his parliamentary immunity was removed, then he was assessed a fine of 5,000 crowns in 2010.
8. In order to protect the culture and belief values of the countries with regards to social peace, the European Human Rights Court (EHRC) extended the authorization of the signatory countries. This is clearly observed in the precedents of the EHRC. For instance, the publication of a film in Austria was banned upon appeal in accordance with the Austrian Penal Code`s article number 188 which regulates the offense of degrading religious doctrines " and this sentence was upheld by the Higher court. The subject matter decision of approval was brought to the EHRC justifying article number 10 of the EHRC, and the EHRC concluded that there was no infringement in the banning of the film which defamed religious values. In other words, the EHRC excluded defamation against religious values from the scope of the freedom of speech (Otto-Preminger "Institut case).
In yet another example, regarding a book published in Turkey, upon the appeal of the prosecution`s office a case was initiated on the grounds of ...defamation against Allah, religion, prophet and holy book ", and the writer received a prison sentence which was then finalized. Upon this, the writer carried the case to the EHRC claiming that the article number 10 of the EHRC, which is in regard to the freedom of speech, had been infringed. Studying the case, the EHRC concluded that article number 42571/98 which ...aims to prevent assaults made against some points regarding matters that Muslims deem sacred. " By saying that measures taken against these points corresponds to a social need ", the EHRC concluded that article number 10 of the EHRC was not violated (I.A./ Turkey case).
On the other hand, the United Nations Human Rights Council acceded to the banning of defamation against Islam in the entire world by ruling number 16/18.
Moreover, the United States of America`s Eygptian Ambassador made a speech on September 11, 2012 saying We condemn the efforts of some individuals with wrong ideas to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims. We definitely denounce the acts of those who abuse the universal right to freedom of speech to hurt others` religious feelings ", and said that he supported the acts and rulings that ban defamation against religion.
9. Laws reflect the will of nations. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey, which represents the Turkish nation, has legislated ... the open defamation of religious values that are embraced by a fraction of the public " as an offense " that will ruin the public peace. The court that tries the case will decide as to whether the statements of FazÄ±l Say constitutes this offense, and judge accordingly throughout the judicial process that it enforces on behalf of the Turkish nation ". If it retains that the offense has not been committed, the verdict will be an acquittal and if it retains that the offense has been committed, it will inflict punishment as set forth in the law. The identity of the person being tried, the fact that he is a famous artist and the attempts of his supporters coming to the court house to protest on his behalf does not in any way influence the judicial authorities.
10. My wish is that an understanding develops that adopts a limitless freedom of speech and thought, yet also embraces an atmosphere of respect where everybody states their views constructively with reason, and thus establishing love, understanding, peace, democracy and serenity both in our country and the world.
Ali Emre BukaÄŸÄ±lÄ±