Turkish cartoonist sentenced to one year and fifteen days in prison for "insulting sacred values"


Condenan a un dibujante turco a un año y quince días de cárcel por “insultar valores sagrados”

Seyfi Sahin's cartoon for which he has been convicted and which was also the reason for the closure of Girgir magazine by its editors in 2017.

Condenan a un dibujante turco a un año y quince días de cárcel por “insultar valores sagrados”

The cartoonist Seyfi Sahinthe cartoonist, who worked for the popular satirical magazine Girgir, was sentenced today to a prison term of one year and 15 days for"insulting sacred values" in a cartoon depicting a caricature of the prophet Moses The prosecution asked for one and a half years he was sentenced to one year and 15 days in prison.

In the cartoon, the Jewish prophet Moses, also considered a holy figure in Islam and Christianity, is telling how he parted the waters of the Red Sea, people listening around him complain, using some expletive, that he always repeats the same stories.

During the final hearing of the trial, the cartoonist said he did not do the cartoon with the purpose of insulting and offered an apology to the Jewish community adding:

"If I have made a mistake, it was not deliberately."

Seyfi also said that some members of the Jewish community let him know that similar and even worse cartoons about Moses are published in Israel.(Source)

The court did not suspend Seyfi Sahin's prison sentence on the grounds that he had committed a similar offence in the past and that there was no indication that he would not commit the same offence again. (sic)

Girgir, an unprecedented case

Last cover of Girgir magazine from 15 to 21 February 2017

Girgir magazine was closed down by its owners in February 2017 after he published the cartoon about Moses, which was considered offensive to Jews and Muslims and for which the cartoonist has now been convicted.

At the time, the company apologised in a statement thus:

"We apologise to anyone we may have hurt with this terrible cartoon, we did not realise before the magazine went to print due to lack of sleep and exhaustion."

The case of Girgir magazine is exceptional because it was the editors themselves who applied self-censorship by acting as thought police and shut down the publication, firing all the workers.

In addition, the lawyer representing Girgir's publisher at the time told the media that the company would file criminal charges against the cartoonists and anyone else on the magazine's staff who had a connection to the publication of the cartoon in question.

Girgir, a magazine owned by the Estetik publishing house, was founded in 1972 and was distributed as a free weekly supplement to the daily "Sözcü" and became Turkey's best-selling satirical magazine between 1980 and 1990. Although it was closed for a short time after the military coup in 1980, it remained a cult magazine, especially for its political cartoons that circumvented censorship.

This is not the first time i write about here of convictions, prosecutions and fines for artists in Turkey.

Related, more than a hundred cases around the world:

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