ISTANBUL (Anadolu) — An Istanbul court on December 8 ordered the release on probation of five suspects implicated in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
During the 15th hearing of the case, in which a total of 85 defendants are being tried, the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court ordered the release of Bekir Yokus, Ecevit Emir, Emre Cingöz, Haci Serif Simsek and Seref Ates, all of whom were serving as intelligence officers in the Istanbul Gendarmerie at the time of Dink’s murder.
The court ordered their release predominantly on the strength of an October 10 report released by the Forensic Institute, which stated that their DNA was not present at the Sisli murder scene, though time already served in prison was another factor.
The ruling imposed a travel ban on the five and ordered the continued arrest of 11 other defendants in line with the current status of the evidence.
Separately, the court also accepted a request by the Dink family lawyer to investigate whether the journalist’s phone had been previously tapped.
The court adjourned the next hearing to January 29, with the case set to continue on January 30, February 1 and February 2, 2018.