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Turkish president signs amendment limiting controversial state slander law

[JURIST] Turkish President Abdullah Gul Wednesday signed an amendment into law restricting the controversial Article 301 [Amnesty backgrounder; JURIST news archive] of the country's penal code [text, in Turkish], which makes "insulting the Turkish identity" a crime. The amendment recharacterizes the crime of "insulting the Turkish identity" as insulting the "Turkish nation," reduces the maximum possible punishment from three years to two years in prison, and requires the approval of the justice minister for any Article 301 prosecution. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey [official website, in Turkish] approved the amendment [JURIST report] last month.

Many prominent Turkish journalists, authors, and academics have been tried for insulting "Turkishness" [JURIST report] under Article 301. Critics have accused Turkey of using the law to silence government critics, making it a major stumbling block [JURIST report] to Turkey's accession to the European Union. AFP has more.

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