Trial of Turkish author starts

Trial of Turkish author starts

ISTANBUL - The trial of a novelist accused of inciting religious hatred in his last novel "The daughters of Allah" opened and adjourned in Istanbul yesterday. Nedim Gürsel, who lives in Paris and is being tried in absentia, faces between one and three years in jail if convicted.

Gürsel's lawyer Şehnaz Yüzer said his client had not attended due to concern about "incidents" but that he had made a deposition on a previous visit.

The court heard testimony yesterday from the plaintiff Ali Emre Bukağılı, a follower of Adnan Oktar who is known for his belief in creationism and rejection of the Darwinian theory of evolution. He said he was offended by the book because it was "insulting to the Prophet and the Koran." He added, "Freedom of expression has limits."

The public prosecutor has recommended acquitting the author on the grounds that an "imminent and clear public order danger" as required by the law has not been established. The novel was published in 2008. The case was adjourned to May 26.

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