The ongoing trial dealing with the assassination of journalist Hrant Dink is transferred to a juvenile court in a move criticized by lawyers and Dink supporters, who say the change falls within the law but fails to address the full scope of the case. Main suspect Ogün Samast was under the age of 18 at the time of the murder in 2007
The primary suspect in the assassination of journalist Hrant Dink will be tried in a juvenile court, an Istanbul court ruled Monday.
“This would not have happened if you had enacted justice swiftly,” the journalist’s brother Hosrof Dink told the court following the decision.
The Istanbul court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to prosecute main suspect Ogün Samast because he was under the age of 18 at the time of the murder. The unanimous decision was made under the recently changed Law No. 6008 on minors’ legal status in adult courts. The change to what is commonly known as the “stone-throwing children’s law” was meant to ease the plight of juveniles charged under Turkey’s anti-terrorism laws.
The head judge answered Hosrof Dink’s statement by saying the court was only following the law, and he should address his concerns to the country’s lawmakers.
The switch to a juvenile court for serious crimes will cause problems for the case, Kemal Aytaç, one of the intervening lawyers, told CNNTürk. “The judicial board that will hear the case will change. It will cause problems in terms of fairness. Continuation is critical in trials,” Aytaç said. He added, however, that what is more crucial is that state officials who were negligent in failing to protect Dink based on prior threats were not included in the case.
“The decision of the court is in accordance with the law,” the Friends of Hrant Dink said in a written statement, while agreeing with Aytaç that the scope of the case needs to be broadened. “Maybe this might be an opportunity for justice to be fulfilled. With the boy who committed murder out of the way, maybe it will next be the turn of his brothers and superiors, the real planners of the murder and inciters,” the group said in its statement.
The decision regarding Samast is “laughable,” Anil Güler, a member of the Friends of Hrant Dink, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Monday during a court recess. “[It is] a laughable situation. There is no need even to comment on it,” Güler said, adding that the group has changed its slogan “For Hrant, for justice” to simply “For Hrant” because it has lost hope of gaining justice from the court.
(Hurriyet Daily)

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