Turkish Court Acquits Another Defendant in Dink Murder Case

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ANKARA (PanARMENIAN.Net) — A court has acquitted Coskun Igci, one of 19 defendants in the murder case of Hrant Dink, the founder and former editor-in-chief of the Armenian-Turkish Agos weekly who was assassinated in 2007 in front of his office in Istanbul, after forgetting to include him in the final verdict in January, Today’s Zaman reported.

Igci, who presumably called on Yasin Hayal to buy a gun with which to shoot Dink, was accidentally left out of the final verdict and the judge issued a ruling separately for him on Monday, February 13.

On September 19, 2011, the prosecution recommended his acquittal on the grounds that “there was no substantial evidence to suggest he took part in the crime.”

Igci’s lawyer said at the court on Monday that his client has no ties to the murder except for being the uncle of Hayal, one of the main suspects.

Igci said to the court that he had informed gendarmerie intelligence officers in Trabzon that a plan to assassinate Dink was in place four months prior to the murder.

“I am not guilty. The people I reported about were tried in Trabzon and they were punished because they neglected their duties. Those people are Col. Ali Öz, Capt. Metin Yildiz, non-commissioned officer Orhan Simsek and Sgt. Veysel Sahin,” he said.

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When a judge at the court asked Igci if he had been in contact with those four people, Igci replied that he had contacted Simsek and Sahin.

The Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court issued its ruling on January 17 in the 25th hearing of the case. Hayal and Erhan Tuncel, the main suspects, who were accused of being instigators, and all other suspects, were cleared of charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

The prosecutor and the Dink family’s lawyers accused them of acting under the orders of a clandestine criminal network suspected of having ties with senior state officials and military and police officers.

The court handed down a life sentence to Hayal, while Tuncel was given 10 years and six months in prison for his involvement in the bombing of a McDonald’s restaurant in 2004. Gunman Ogün Samast was sentenced last July to nearly 23 years in prison by a separate juvenile court. Tuncel was released.