Date:  January 28, 2020

Turkey (International Christian Concern) – A 13.5-month prison sentence against an Armenian writer has been upheld by Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals. This sentence was levied against Sevan Nişanyan after facing charges regarding so-called “offensive” statements against Mohammed.

According to the court ruling, Nişanyan had published words that degraded Mohammed’s dignity and could lead to public indignation. This references Turkey’s criminal code, but notably the court further justified their decision by citing the European Court of Human Rights, saying that the ECHR has ruled that religious statements that can be viewed as a “cheap attack” should be avoided. Only one member of the Supreme Court opposed upholding Nişanyan’s prison sentence, saying that while Muslims were indeed humiliated in his writing, there were no concrete evidence that breaches of public peace had actually occurred.

Nişanyan’s case began developing substantially in September 2012 and relates to a personal blog post he had made regarding the film, The Innocence of Muslims. In 2014, his lawyer noted that he was facing multiple charges in 17 different cases. This latest decision by Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals further demonstrates how Turkey continues to move away from the secular principals which are enshrined within the constitution.

HOW TO PRAY: Pray for any unjust charges to be overturned. Pray for greater religious freedom in Turkey. Pray for the Gospel to continue to spread throughout this nation.