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06 10 10 -Armenian Maneuver: Let Historians be Exempted By Ali Ihsan Aydin,
Paris Monday, October 09, 2006 The Armenian Diaspora continues to take action in an effort to prevent opposition to the draft law pending at the French parliament that would penalize denial of the alleged Armenian genocide. In an attempt to convince those who oppose the draft that it will restrict the academic freedoms of historians, Armenians proposed exempting researchers and historians from the scope of the draft law. To this end, a leading figure from the ruling People’s Majority Unity Party French Armenian, Patrick Devedjian, proposed an amendment to the draft. The single-sentenced proposal reads “These regulations do not apply to academic and scientific researches and studies.” The Committee on Defending the Armenian Cause, an important player behind the draft bill, called on the parliamentarians to approve the draft for the sake of “the dignity of humanity,” and in a manner that goes beyond the routine discussions of historians. The draft submitted by the opposition Socialist Party stipulates those who deny the alleged Armenian genocide be imprisoned up to five years and fined 45,000 euros. In a statement annexed to the amendment proposal, Devedjian, in reference to Turkey, noted that the bill should prevent any provocations and political demonstrations organized by a foreign country. With the proposal, Devedjian seeks to prevent those conducting historical research from prosecution and punishment under the draft law. This unexpected attempt by the Armenians, who have consistently criticized historians critical of the genocide allegations, seeks to prevent opposition from French historians. Not long before, leading French historians had issued a declaration demanding the abolition of laws encompassing historical subjects, including the law that recognizes the alleged Armenian genocide. The same historians are expected to issue another declaration in the days ahead. French President Jacques Chirac also stated his opposition to the draft. The Armenian Diaspora, which now seeks exemption for historians, had previously ensured the conviction of the renowned historian Bernard Lewis simply because he did not fully reflect “the Armenian genocide” in an article. Likewise, following the application of Armenian associations, the Paris Court convicted Quid Encyclopedia on the grounds that it mentioned Turkey’s view with regard to the 1915 incidents.


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