Freemuse Appeals to Turkish Government to Drop the Case Against Ferhat Tunç

Copenhagen, Denmark – Freemuse is launching an international campaign requesting
the Turkish State to drop its case against singer Ferhat Tunç who is to appear
in court on December 28, 2005. If convicted, he will face one to three years of

In a letter to the Prime Minister and Minister of Justice in Turkey, musicians
from six countries are joining the Freemuse campaign for the “immediate
dismissal of the case against Mr. Ferhat Tünc
.”The letter also requests a review of Turkish legislation, with the aim of
removing any remaining laws that can lead to the imprisonment of artists for
practicing their right to free expression. The letter conveys deep concern about
“the continuous harassment of” Ferhat Tunç by Turkish Authorities. It also
expresses “regret that Turkey continues censoring and prosecuting its artists
during a time when Turkey’s Human Rights and Free Expression records are under
international scrutiny

The musicians campaigning for Ferhat Tünc are Salman Ahmad (Pakistan/USA),
Joelle Khoury (Lebanon),

Marcel Khalifé
(Lebanon/France), Mark LeVine (USA),
Khaled Al Shaykh (Bahrain) and Reda Zine (France).

“Deep judiciary”

Ferhat Tunç will appear in court on December 28th, 2005. He will be tried
according to article 159 of the [former] Turkish Penal Code, as a result of
using the phrase “deep judiciary” in an article he wrote to the daily Gündem.
The 1st hearing on December 2nd, 2004, was postponed until March 9th, 2005, to
allow time for additional documents to be gathered.
Ferhat Tunç stated in his defense that he did not mean to insult the court, he
only meant to criticize. He also said he was upset that the charges were not
dropped at the first hearing.

If convicted, he will face one to three years of imprisonment. The article
which opposes “insulting the Republic, the President, Parliament, judiciary,
security forces
…” has since been amended through the so called “harmonization
laws” which highlight that “critics could not be interpreted as insult.”

Accused of blasphemy

The Freemuse campaign is the first ever where musicians from several
countries are supporting a colleague in a campaign for freedom of expression.
Several of the musicians have faced censorship in their home countries.

In 1999 Marcel Khalife was accused in Beirut of blasphemy for singing a song
‘Oh my father. I am Yusuf’, based on a poem by Mahmoud Darwish. “We must
eliminate censorship,

said at a recent Freemuse conference in Beirut.
Salman Ahmad and his group Junoon have faced censorship at several occasions in

Visit Ferhat Tunc’s website

Read the musician’s appeal

More information about the case

Other Freemuse stories:

Shoot the Singer! Music Censorship Today

WOMEX Award 2003 Goes to Freemuse