Dink family lawyer, Fethiye Çetin, slammes the ruling
ISTANBUL — A Turkish court has convicted Yasin Hayal in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and sentenced him to life in prison, while another instigator Erhan Tuncel was acquitted of murder charges by the same court.
A juvenile court had sentenced Dink’s assassin, Ogun Samast, to 22 years and 10 months in jail last July. He was 17 when the killing took place.
The Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court issued its verdict in the 25th hearing of the Hrant Dink murder case. Both Hayal and Tuncel were cleared of charges of membership in a terrorist organization.
Dink family’s lawyer, Fethiye Çetin, slammed the ruling, saying it meant that a “state tradition of political murders” was deliberately left intact because it did not deal with accusations of state involvement in the 2007 murder.
“They made fun of us throughout the five-year trial process. We did not know they saved the biggest joke to the very end,” she told media members soon after the verdict was read out by the court. “This ruling means a tradition was left untouched. The state tradition of political murders. The tradition of state discriminating against some of its citizens and turning them into enemies,” she stated.
Çetin also vowed to pursue all available legal remedies against the ruling, asserting that the verdict marked the end of only an initial phase of the case, which consisted of the trial of hitmen in the murder.
Rakel Dink, wife of Hrant Dink also joined hundreds of people as they shout slogans and hold placards that read ‘This case won’t end this way’ and ‘Justice for Hrant’ outside the courthouse in Besiktas.
<p align=”justify”>In a statement ahead of the verdict, Amnesty International said authorities had still not investigated the full circumstances behind Dink’s murder.
“The Turkish authorities have failed to address state officials’ alleged involvement in the killing,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s expert on Turkey. “The security services knew of the murder plot and were in communication with those accused of the murder yet nothing was done to stop it taking place,” he said.
Calls by Dink’s family to investigate the collusion and negligence of state officials in the murder, have not been heeded, he added. In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Turkish authorities to pay 100,000 euros to Dink’s family in compensation, saying authorities had failed to adequately protect Dink even though they knew ultra nationalists were plotting to kill him.
Hrant Dink, the late editor-in-chief of the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, was gunned down on Jan. 19, 2007 by Ogün Samast, outside the offices of his newspaper in Istanbul in broad daylight.
The prosecutor had demanded life imprisonment for seven men accused of involvement in the killing of Dink. “It’s been five years. All the evidence clearly shows we can’t be satisfied with the punishment of two or three people who committed the murder. Those who pointed to Dink, who said, ‘Kill him,’ who waited for him to be killed are all about to come out of this clean,” Hrant’s Friends announced in a statement yesterday.