Monday, February 11, 2008

Today Third Hearing in Dink Murder Case

Bıa news centre

Today Third Hearing in Dink Murder CaseThe trial of the murder suspects of journalist Hrant Dink continues with the third hearing today. The hearing will be recorded and might yet be opened to the press, pending a court decision.

Today (11 February) is the third hearing of the trial related to journalist Hrant Dink’s murder. The trial takes place at the Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court in Besiktas, central Istanbul.

The editor-in-chief of the Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper Agos was shot dead on 19 January 2007.

Court case monitored by Hrant Dink's friends and supporters
A group called the “Hrant Dink Awareness Group”, made up of MPs, writers, journalists and others, has vowed to follow the case to ensure that justice is done.

In a published statement, the group said, “We will continue this effort until justice is done, until our conscience is clear.” The group will make a press statement in front of the Besiktas court building at 10 am.

Trial may be opened to press
The trial has been closed to the press because the gunman suspect O.S. was said to be under age. However, should the court pay heed to a forensic medical report which, based on bone measurements, sets his age at 19, the trial may be opened to the press.

If the court accepted a higher age, this would also affect the suspect’s trial – the prosecution would then demand a life sentence with more severe restrictions.

Hearing to be recorded
For the third hearing, it is expected that visual and audio recording technology has been prepared. The joint attorneys had cited reforms in Criminal Procedure Law and demanded the recording of the hearing. This request had been granted and thus, this would be the first time in Turkey that a hearing is recorded.

Justice needs to be pursued
Fethiye Cetin, a lawyer for the Dink family has expressed her appreciation of the public support in the trial:

“The voices who are pursuing the case and standing witness in the case have also caused some developments to come to light. This pursuit gives us hope. We must continue to pursue justice.”

This hearing may also hear the account of Coskun Igci, brother-in-law of murder suspect Yasin Hayal and gendarmerie informant, who stated in the Trabzon court case against two gendarmerie officers for gross negligence that he told the gendarmerie in Trabzon four months before the murder that Hayal was planning such an attack.

The Hrant Dink murder trial in Istanbul began on 2 July 2007, with the second hearing on 1 October. O.S., the young man on trial for shooting Dink, said at the second hearing: “Yasin Hayal forced me to do this. Out of fear, I did not understand how it happened, I shot Hrant Dink. I regret it. If I had known that he had family, I would not have shot him.”

No prosecution of police officer Zenit
The Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court has decided not to open a separate investigation into police intelligence officer Muhittin Zenit, who spoke to suspect Erhan Tuncel hours after the murder of Hrant Dink. Zenit had displayed knowledge of the planned murder in expressions such as “[the gunman] was not going to run away, but he did.” Tuncel said to Zenit in the conversation, “It was clear how he was going to be shot.”

It is expected that seven of the eight detained suspects in the case, O.S. ,Erhan Tuncel, Yasin Hayal, Zeynel Abidin Yavuz, Ahmet Iskender, Tuncay Uzundal and Mustafa Öztürk, will be questioned at this hearing. (EÖ/TK/AG)

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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