Hürriyet, Turkey
Dec 31 2008

Priest's attacker sentenced to jail time

ANKARA - A Turkish court sentenced a man to four years in prison on
Monday for stabbing an Italian Catholic priest in 2007 in a case that
highlighted attacks against Christians in Muslim and secular Turkey.

A court in the coastal city of Ä°zmir in western Turkey passed a
sentence on Ramazan Bay for stabbing Adriano Franchini, the Anatolian
news agency reported. Franchini survived the attack.

Bay told the court he had been influenced by media reports of other
attacks against Christians, including the death by shooting of Andrea
Santoro, another Italian Catholic priest, in the Turkish Black Sea
city of Trabzon in 2006.

Turkey's small Christian community has been targeted in a spate of
attacks over several years, prompting concern among human rights
groups and the European Union, which Turkey hopes to join. Three
Christians, two Turks and a German, had their throats slit by youths
who burst into their Bible publishing house in the southeastern town
of Malatya last year.

Hrant Dink also stabbed Turkish Armenian writer Hrant Dink was also
slain last year in Istanbul by a young nationalist gunman. A
prosecutor on Monday indicted a colonel for failing to provide
protection to Dink, who had received several death threats, Anatolian
said. Christians in Turkey barely number 100,000 in the population of
nearly 75 million.