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Turkish-Armenian author accused of insulting national identity killed

[JURIST] Turkish-Armenian author Hrant Dink, journalist and editor of the newspaper Agos [media website, English version], was shot and killed Friday in Istanbul. Dink was one of several writers to have been charged recently with "insulting the Turkish identity" in violation of Article 301 [JURIST news archive; Amnesty International backgrounder] of Turkey's penal code. The controversial author had previously received death threats from Turkish nationalists for his writings concerning the killings of an estimated one million Ottoman Armenians [ANI backgrounder; Turkish DC Embassy backgrounder] in the early 20th century.

In October 2005, Dink was given a six-months suspended sentence [JURIST report], but his conviction was subsequently overturned by the chief prosecutor of the Appeals Court in February 2006, who ruled that Dink's remarks were in no way offensive. Dink was awaiting a retrial [JURIST report]. Other writers such as Turkish novelist Elif Shafak [personal website] and Orhan Pamuk [JURIST news archive] have all been charged under Article 301 for discussing the alleged Armenian genocide. Turkey, which hopes to join the EU, faces pressure from the EU that Article 301 be abolished [JURIST report] because it infringes upon the freedom of expression. BBC News has more. NTV-MSNBC has local coverage.

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