Friends in Turkey call for justice for slain Armenian journalist

Friends of Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian who was assassinated four years ago, once more called for justice as they gathered in front of the building where the Turkish-Armenian weekly he headed.

Friends in Turkey call for justice for slain Armenian journalist

World Bulletin / News Desk

Friends of Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian who was assassinated four years ago, once more called for justice as they gathered in front of the building where the Turkish-Armenian weekly he headed, Agos, is located.

The crowd, which gathered at 3 p.m., the time Dink was shot by 17-year-old ultranationalist Ogün Samast, held signs of protest against a system that failed to reveal the masterminds of the crime.

“No justice in four years,” “No Parliament in four years,” “Justice for Hrant” read the placards that they carried along Şişli's Halaskargazi Street, which was closed to traffic, and as they laid red carnations where Dink fell after being shot from behind.

Dink's widow, Rakel Dink, did not say anything but greeted the crowd from the window of Agos.

Several groups marched to Şişli from different locations in İstanbul. One of them was led by actor Mehmet Alabora. Another group set off from Taksim with placards that read, “We will not forget” and “We will not forgive.”

The families of other prominent people who were either killed or suffered due to smear campaigns were also present at gathering in front of Agos.

Meanwhile, Dink's family filed a new suit this week against 31 officials -- including the former governor of İstanbul and the former local gendarmerie commander and police chief in Trabzon -- for neglect and “aiding the murderer by way of making it easy to commit the crime.” The investigation into Dink's murder has stalled as the suspected perpetrator and his accomplices have been put on trial, but those who masterminded the plot to kill him have yet to be exposed and punished.

Dink family lawyers indicated in yet another report that there is a striking unity of action between the individuals, institutions and mechanisms in the preparation and perpetration of the Dink murder, in concealing and tampering with evidence after the murder, in burying the truth, in drawing boundaries and limits on how far the trial proceedings could go and in ensuring that these boundaries are not crossed.

In addition, a new law restricting the length of time a suspect can be kept under arrest while awaiting or standing trial, which went into effect as of the beginning of this year, might lead to Samast's release. The change to Article 102 of the CMK went into force on Jan. 1 after it was amended in 2005 to reduce the lengthy trial periods and appeals processes in courts that lead to inmates spending long periods in jail without ever having been convicted. After going into effect, many suspects who had been in detention for five to 10 years pending trial were released.

Samast, arrested on Jan. 24, 2007, a few days after the Jan. 19 murder of Dink, has been on trial in a juvenile court since he was a minor at the time of the crime and after he confessed to the murder. At the 15th hearing of the Dink trial in January last year at the 14th High Criminal Court, the young man's defense lawyer, Levent Yıldırım, reiterated that he had requested that the court allow Samast to be tried in juvenile court. Yıldırım, who referred to the Law of Amendment to the Counterterrorism Law (TMK) requested a transfer to a juvenile court for his client.

A co-plaintiff attorney for the Dink family, had expressed at the time that Samast should be tried with the other suspects in the same court, the court has accepted Yıldırım's request. The presiding judge decided that according to the new TMK, the current court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction. Dink family lawyer Fethiye Çetin also said the problem is not the new law but the fact that Samast has not received any punishment to this day, and more importantly, the fact that the perpetrators of the crime are still free.

One important development has been the judgment handed down by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on Sept. 14, 2010 on Dink v. Turkey, in which Turkey was found to be in violation of Articles 2 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights related to the “right to life” and “freedom of expression,” respectively. The court found Turkey in violation in two major respects -- the first was Turkey's inability to protect Dink's life, and the second was Turkey's inability to carry out an effective investigation to expose and punish those who neglected to protect Dink by not acting on the intelligence showing that his life was in imminent danger.

“This judgment clearly urges Turkey to take serious steps to remedy the failures of the Turkish judicial and administrative systems,” said Çetin, who filed a petition with the court overseeing the Dink murder case on Jan. 17, reminding it of the steps it should take in light of the ECtHR's ruling.
 

Last Mod: 20 Ocak 2011, 09:02
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