ISTANBUL — A criminal judge of peace in Istanbul has issued arrest warrants for Trabzon Police Department Assistant Commissioner Özkan Mumcu, and another police officer, Mühittin Zenit, on charges of negligence and misconduct in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, Today’s Zaman reports.

In issuing the arrest warrant the Judge stated that the suspects had had prior knowledge of the assassination and had not acted to take necessary precautions.

Mumcu and Zenit provided statements to Investigating Prosecutor Gökalp Kökçü on December 26. The suspects were sent to the Istanbul 5th Criminal Court of Peace on duty with a request for arrest on charges of wrongful death and malpractice. The Magistrate imposed a ban on leaving the country and discharged Mumcu and Zenit.

However, Investigating Prosecutor Gökalp Kökçü appealed the decision and requested an arrest warrant for the suspects. Responding to the appeal, the Istanbul 6th Criminal Court of Peace ruled for issuing an arrest warrant for the two suspects on the grounds that they had acted in negligence regarding the murder. Within the scope of this decision, Muhittin Zenit and Özkan Mumcu will be sent to prison when they are arrested. This would be the first instance in the investigation of public officials being arrested.

Judge Fevzi Keles stated in his verdict that there were records of Muhittin Zenit’s phone calls to murder case suspect Erhan Tuncel, and that he was aware that the assassination would take place.

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