ISTANBUL (MiddleEastEye, Bianet, Dink Family) – An Istanbul court issued six sentences of life imprisonment and 23 jail terms, while 33 defendants were acquitted on March 26 in the third court case concerning the January 2007 Hrant Dink murder. One individual died during the trial, leading to charges against him being dropped.
Among those sentenced were former police chiefs and security officials. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Representative to Turkey Erol Önderoğlu commented: “The Hrant Dink case is not over. This is the third trial and it does not comprise behind-the-scenes actors who threatened him with a statement, threw him before violent groups as an object of hate or failed to act so that he would get killed. As a matter of fact, the attorneys of the Dink family made an application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) last year as they could not have over 20 officials put on trial.”
The 17-year-old Ogun Samast was convicted of the crime in 2011 but it was clear that he could not have carried out this alone. The first court ruling was issued in January 2012 but after some reversals in a court of cassation it was retried by the same court which gave its ruling on the cases of nine main defendants, including Samast, in July 2019. Seven were given prison sentences.
In the current court, prosecutors claimed those sentenced were supporters of Fethullah Gülen and in fact the latter, living in the US, was listed as a fugitive along with 12 others whose cases were separated from those who received verdicts.
Dink was a spokesman for the rights of Turkish-Armenians and remains even in his death a symbol of the oppression that community faces. His family issued a statement on March 26 on the occasion of the new verdicts.
Statement by the Dink Family