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Atheist virtuoso pianist Fazil Say gets 10-month suspended sentence for Tweets insulting some Muslims

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An Istanbul court on Monday slapped world-renowned pianist Fazil Say with a 10-month suspended jail term for blasphemy in what the musician has said was a political case instigated by Turkey’s ruling party.

The court handed down the sentence after finding Say guilty of “insulting religious values of a part of the population” in a series of tweets that critics said insulted Islam and Muslims. The pianist was not present in court during the sentencing.

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Say has accused the AKP, the ruling Justice and Development Party, of being behind the case against him.

Say, an atheist, has often criticised the Islamist-rooted party, accusing it of having a secret agenda to promote conservative values in Turkey.

The 43-year-old virtuoso, who has played with the philharmonic orchestras of Berlin, New York, Tokyo and Israel, was charged with inciting religious hatred and insulting Islamic values in a series of tweets.

The charges relate to tweets from April last year, including one where he said: “I am not sure if you have also realised it, but all the pricks, low-lives, buffoons, thieves, jesters, they are all Allahists.”

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He had faced a maximum sentence of 18 months.

The case stoked fears of growing restrictions on freedom of expression in a country which has long sought to join the European Union.

[Image courtesy of Fazil Say]

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Trump’s EU ambassador is using the ‘Don Jr. defense’ of being too dumb to break the law: national security expert

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Gordon Sondland, the man whom President Donald Trump appointed to be his ambassador to the European Union, told congressional investigators on Thursday that he didn't understand that President Donald Trump might be holding up establishing direct contact with Ukraine's government unless the government agreed to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

However, given that the president did ask him to run all Ukraine policy through attorney Rudy Giuliani, and given that Giuliani was already publicly boasting about trying to get Ukraine to probe Biden, Sondland's testimony raises the question of what he actually believed the president's intentions were in withholding aid to the country this past summer.

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Historians demolish John Yoo for claim Founding Fathers wouldn’t want Trump impeached in an election year

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Comments made by attorney and law professor John Yoo on Fox News on the Founding Father's intentions about impeachment received a brutal debunking by two historians -- including one of his colleagues at UC Berkeley.

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According to Yoo, Democrats are getting it all wrong when they say the Constitution compels them to hold impeachment proceedings against Trump just one year before the election.

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McConnell drops a surprise on Trump — calls for an even stronger resolution to rebuke him

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated he opposes the bill out of the House to denounce President Donald Trump's military withdrawal in Syria because it isn't tough enough, reported Bloomberg's Steven Dennis.

https://twitter.com/StevenTDennis/status/1184840222846148608

"My first preference is for something stronger than the House resolution," McConnell said according to Bloomberg's Laura Litvan.

She went on to say that McConnel wants a bill that outlines what action should take place in Syria.

McConnell said the House version was "curiously silent on the issue of whether to actually to sustain a U.S. military presence in Syria."

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