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Trial delayed in ‘insulting Turkishness’ case

By June 7, 2010

Turkey (MNN) — Hearings will continue in the case of two
Christians accused of "insulting Turkishness."

Compass Direct News says 41-year-old Hakan Tastan and 50-year-old Turan Topal still
face charges, but a judge delayed the case until October 14. 

Although the prosecution has not yet provided evidence of
the charges, the pair is accused of "insulting Turkishness" through
their evangelizing in 2006.

In a minor victory, CDN reported earlier that a judge
ordered the review due to the Turkish Parliament's amendment of article 301 of
the Penal Code, which changed the wording from "insulting
Turkishness" to "insulting the Turkish nation" and required that
permission be obtained from the Ministry of Justice for someone to be charged
under the article.

However, they did not change any of the other charges
against the pair, which include reviling Islam and compiling information files on
private citizens. Also during the June
24 hearing, according to Voice of the Martyrs Canada, both teenage witnesses for the prosecution
testified that they had neither met nor seen Tastan or Topal prior to court,
contradicting the prosecution's claim that they had been given literature and
invited to church by the Christians.

After becoming Christians over 15 years ago, Tastan and Topal
officially changed their religious identity from Muslim to Christian on their
official ID cards. While the
Turkish constitution includes freedom of religion, it is not unusual for
Christians to face difficulties in the process of changing their religious
designation on their identification cards.

Tastan and Topal  would like to see the trial conclude by the
end of the year. Pray thaht the charges against them will be dropped. 

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