ISTANBUL — Ogün Samast, the assassin of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, on Nov. 15 was released from the Bolu F Type Prison on parole for “good behavior.” Duvar website reports.
Samast, who has been in prison for 16 years and 10 months, was being observed by the prison administration for one year, Demirören News Agency reported.
Accordingly, Samast “met” the parole conditions for “showing good behavior during the observations made for his personal development,” and was released.
Bahri Belen, one of the lawyers of the Dink family, told Gazete Duvar that “There was a possibility of him being released earlier. But it was postponed because he committed other crimes in prison. He was released with the help of the execution laws that were introduced later, in other words, with a ‘secret amnesty’.”
Samast was previously expected to be released from prison in 2020 to serve his last 1.5 years under parole. But his imprisonment was extended after receiving another jail sentence of five years, one month and 13 days on charges of attacking guardians.
Editor of bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos and Turkey’s best known Armenian voice abroad, Hrant Dink was shot in broad daylight as he left his Istanbul office in January 2007.
His killer Samast was 17 when the killing took place. He was sentenced by a juvenile court to an aggravated life in prison but it was reduced by one-third due to his age. At last, he was sentenced to 22 years and 10 months in prison in total. According to the law on execution of sentences, Samast needed to serve 15 years and 2 months of this sentence, the last 1.5 years of which would be spent under parole.
Outcry in Turkey over released convicted murderer
Samast’s release stirred a huge reaction among politicians, human rights activists and citizens.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Özgür Özel said Samast was released from prison “where he was supposed to stay for life.”
“We have no words to say. If Ogün Samast is released for good behavior, anyone who talks about justice after this is truly unscrupulous,” he added.
Human Rights Association’s (İHD) co-chair Eren Keskin said “This is such a dystopian country! Gültan Kışanak, Selahattin Demirtaş, Osman Kavala, Can Atalay are in jail only for their thoughts, but the murderer is free! The consequences of discriminatory execution law.”
“’Good behavior,’ which they did not even apply to sick prisoners, was applied to the murderer!,” Keskin said in another post.
“Ogün Samast, the murderer of Hrant Dink, was released on the grounds of ‘good behavior,’ which is not applied to sick and political prisoners. This situation once again revealed that the legal system covers all ‘deep crimes.’ A crime against humanity was cleared by the state’s judiciary! The mind of 1915 continues with all its consequences!,” İHD said in a social media post.