(This article is courtesy of the Times of Israel)
After 4 years, Turkish pianist cleared of insulting Islam
A Turkish court has acquitted world-renowned pianist Fazil Say of blasphemy on Wednesday, four years after he first went on trial on charges of insulting Islam in a case that raised alarm about freedom of expression in Turkey.
The Istanbul court ruling ends a long-running legal saga which began in October 2012 when Say went on trial on charges “insulting religious beliefs” in a series of Twitter posts.
In a hugely convoluted process, the Turkish classical star was initially handed a 10-month jail sentence in 2013 before a retrial was ordered the same year in which he received an identical sentence.
But the Supreme Court of Appeal in October 2015 overturned the sentence, sending it back to a lower court for a final ruling.
And the Istanbul court on Wednesday supported the appeal court decision to overturn the sentence against Say and ruled he should be acquitted, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Say, 45, has played with orchestras across the world including in Berlin, New York, Tokyo and Israel and regularly gives sold-out solo recitals that often mix Mozart with Turkish traditional sounds.
The charismatic pianist — who is also a renowned composer — was prosecuted for Twitter posts in 2012 that allegedly attacked Muslims.
One of which was a re-tweet which said: “I am not sure if you have also realized it, but all the pricks, low-lives, buffoons, thieves, jesters, they are all Allahists. Is this a paradox?”