|Human rights defender sentenced for 'incitement to enmity and hatred'|
A human rights defender who co-published a report concerning the forced displacement of Kurdish people in Turkey have been sentenced by Turkish courts for allegedly "incite[ing] people to enmity and hatred because of class, racial, religious, confessional or regional differences." Sefika Gurbuz, chairwoman of the Immigrants' Association for Social Co-operation and Culture (Göç-Der), is the latest to be sentenced under Article 312(2) of the Turkish Penal Code, a law that has frequently been criticised by EU and human rights observers. Dr. Mehmet Barut, a Göç-Der board member and academic at the University of Mersin who jointly published the report, was acquitted. The appeal court affirmed her sentence on 4 November 2005.
On February 6, and August 3, 2002, Turkey amended several provisions in the penal code with a view to improving freedom of expression and of association, including Article 312(2). Perversely, this amendment was used against Gurbuz actually to increase her sentence.
A new fact-finding report jointly published today by KHRP and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales details numerous case studies of the intimidation and harassment frequently experienced by members of the press and broadcast media, performing artists, singers and human rights defenders. According to the report, "Article 312(2) has been used as a tool to suppress the opinions of those who are perceived to be opponents of the state such as Islamists, the left and Kurds. It is not just the content of legislation that affects freedom of expression, it is also the interpretation of articles by prosecutors and the judiciary that has an adverse impact on press freedom." 
Kerim Yildiz / Rochelle Harris, Kurdish Human Rights Project, London,
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