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We, as Istanbul Branch of the Human Rights Association, Turkey, Commission against Racism and Discrimination declare that denial of a crime against humanity such as genocide has nothing to do with freedom of expression.

The denial of the annihilation of a nation with all its social system, professions, works of art and historical heritage by the state itself intentionally and in a planned manner, means to endorse the crime and to justify such violence. Therefore denial cannot be considered within the boundaries of freedom of speech; it is a violence against the grandchildren of genocide survivors  in Turkey and elsewhere in the world and against the memory of the genocide victims. The European Court of Human Rights in many cases ruled that freedom of expression is not applicable to expression of violence.  
 
The UN General Assembly adopted the Convention for Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in December 1948 and the Convention came into force in January 1951. Since that day Holocaust denial has been punished in many countries with fines and prison sentences.

The punishment of Holocaust denial entails fine and up to 20 years’ prison sentence in Austria, fine and up to 1 year’s prison sentence in Belgium, 6 months to 2 years’ prison sentence in Czech Republic, fine and 5 months’ prison sentence in Germany, fine and 1 month – 2 years’ prison sentence in France, 3 to 4 years’ prison sentence in Italy and fine and 1 to 10 years’ prison sentence in Lithuania. In other words the punishment of genocide denial is neither new nor specific to France.

On 1 February 2011 the Reis-ul Ulema of Bosnian Muslims Mustafa Ceri

 

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