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Turkish Christians on trial for allegedly insulting nation

[JURIST] Two Turkish Christians have gone on trial for their alleged "public denigration of the Turkish identity." Hakan Tastan, 37, and Turan Topal, 46, allegedly made insults against Turkey while attempting to convert other Turks to Christianity. The two defendants are being charged under Article 301 [Amnesty backgrounder] of Turkey's penal code, which makes insulting "Turkishness" a crime. The two are also being charged under Article 312 [HRW backgrounder], which criminalizes inciting hatred based on class, race, religion, creed, or region.

The controversial Article 301 has been used to prosecute Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk [JURIST report], and has been a point of contention between the European Union and Turkey [JURIST report], which has an ongoing bid for EU membership [EC materials]. Turkish leaders say they have no immediate plans to make further changes to the law [JURIST report], which the EU deems an infringement on freedom of expression [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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