• Jill Carroll Update: On Monday, Saeed Syam, a top Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) official in the Gaza Strip, added his voice to other Islamists and Middle Eastern groups calling for American reporter Jill Carroll's release.
"Hamas joins those who ask to release American citizen Jill Carroll. Hamas is against the kidnapping of innocent people, of foreigners who are guests in the Arab countries, and those who introduce humanitarian services and help for the Arab people - and for any people in general - especially when they are not interfering in internal Arab affairs. We have declared many times we are totally against kidnapping civilians."
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Follow-up on a story
• Free Speech in Turkey: On Monday, a Turkish court dropped charges against Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's best-known novelist. As reported by the Monitor on Dec. 16 ("Free speech on trial in Turkey"), Mr. Pamuk was charged with "insulting Turkish identity." He went on trial for an interview he gave to a Swiss newspaper in which he said that Turkey was unwilling to address two episodes in its history: the massacre of 1 million Armenians and the killing of 30,000 Kurds.
His case is one of more than 65 free speech cases now under way in Turkey. The cases are part of what analysts see as a tug of war in the country between those who favor European Union democratic values and Turkish nationalists, who consider such comments unpatriotic and seditious.
David Clark Scott