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Turkish pianist receives suspended jail term

The Associated Press, Monday, April 15, 2013, 1:44am (PDT)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A lawyer says a court has convicted a top Turkish pianist and composer of denigrating religion and handed down a 10-month suspended prison sentence.

Fazil Say was on trial for inciting hatred and denigrating religious values after he sent a series of tweets joking about a religious leader and Islamic practices.

He is the latest in a series of intellectuals and artists to be prosecuted in Turkey for expressing opinions and his case escalated concerns over rights and freedoms in the country.

Lawyer Meltem Akyol said the pianist's Monday sentence has been suspended for five years.

Say, 43, is a strong critic of the Islamic-rooted government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a devout Muslim who expounds conservative values.

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