26 Nisan 2011 Salı

Pitbull's Picture Lands Curious Expat in Court

pitbull (links to original article)

(Sondakika Haberleri Website, 21 April 2011)

Muhteşem Demirağ came from the U.S. years ago and settled in Bodrum.
She got a court order to change her name to that of her late husband, an
animal lover who died at the age of 65. Now she is on trial for having put
a picture on her Facebook page of the head of a baby pitbull in a bullseye
placed over the Turkish flag. Demirağ faces a jail sentence of between one
and three years.

American fashion designer Rose Mary Taramantona came to Turkey in
1983 for a vacation and met film actor Muhteşem Demirağ, eventually
marrying him 13 years later. Taramantona and her husband settled in the
Yalakavak town of Bodrum. He died five years ago but Taramantona
continued to live in Turkey. Three years ago she became a Turkish citizen
and took her late husband's name.

The fashion designer now known as Muhteşem Derirağ has conducted
festivals and other events to collect money on behalf of the Yalakavak
Homeless Animals Group, which she founded along with the Bodrum
Animal Rights Association. The collected money is spent on street cats
and dogs.

Recently Muhteşem Demirağ, who has lived in Turkey for 15 years (sic),
has gotten into trouble for putting the picture of a baby pitbull inside a
bullseye on top of the Turkish flag in order to protest the pittbul law. As the
result of a complaint, the Bodrum state prosecutor opened an investigation.
In her statement to the prosecutor Demirağ said that she has lived in Turkey
for 28 years, considers herself a citizen and loves dogs and other animals on
the street.

She stated that 'on the day of the incident the issue was protesting about
pitbull dogs. With the aim of showing that these dogs are not intrinsically
violent but are victims of their owners' wrongful training I put that emblem on
my Facebook page. There is a baby pitbull inside a bullseye in a picture on
the webpage. It's on top of a Turksh flag as a symbol. My intention was to
show that pitbulls should not be a target and I wanted to share this view.
I did not intend to commit a crime or insult our flag. Anyway, this emblem
had come to me from other people. Hundreds of animal lovers have shared
this emblem and I haven't heard of anyone filing suit about it.'

While she was giving her statement Muhteşem Demirağ's telephone rang
and the ring sound it made - that of a horse neighing - was documented in
the statement, as well.  After questioning a suit was filed in Bodrum's 3rd
Court of First Instance, requesting a jail sentence of between one and three
years, in accordance with paragraph one of article 300 of the Turkish Penal
Law. Muhteşem Demirağ will face a judge for the first time next month.

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