Nermin Acar

2003 January 23

In mid-September Istanbul courts ruled for the prosecution in the second case against Nermin Acar, accused of translating another novel guilty of "arousing sexual desire in readers". Ms Acar is the Turkish translator of Serge Bramly's La terreur dans le boudoir, a work loosely inspired by the life of the Marquis de Sade. The courts imposed a EUR 1,700 fine for that work last spring, announcing simultaneously - and unexpectedly - that Acar would be prosecuted for the same offense for her translation of Lilith.

After hearing the case, they have now slapped on an additional EUR 1,700 fine. The European Writers' Congress/Federation of European Writers' Associations, which brings together 51 member associations representing over 50,000 authors and literary translators in 28 countries, has deplored the ruling which it says is counter to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 19 of the Declaration provides for freedom of opinion and expression, including the freedom "to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." Should the fines be upheld, it seems likely that translator associations from around the world will raise funds to show their support for Ms. Acar, while maintaining their protests.

As things now stand, their demonstration of international solidarity is the only silver lining in this sorry affair. Send a solidarity message to the editor: