October 31 (Compass Direct News) â€“ A Turkish prosecutor slapped criminal charges against two converts to Christianity earlier this month, accusing them of â€œinsulting Turkishness,â€ inciting hatred against Islam and secretly compiling data on private citizens for a local Bible correspondence course.Â
Hakan Tastan, 37, and Turan Topal, 46, joined the ranks of 97 other Turkish citizens hauled into court in the last 16 months over alleged violations of the countryâ€™s controversial Article 301 restricting freedom of speech.
Haydar Polat, attorney for the two Christians, said a state prosecutor in the Silivri Criminal Court filed a formal indictment against his clients on October 12. If convicted, the accused men could be sentenced from six months up to three years in prison.
The first hearing for the trial, which Polat said could be expected to continue for a year or more, is set for November 23 in Silivri, 45 miles west of Istanbul along the Marmara Sea coast.