Turkey: No more time to waste in providing justice for Hrant Dink

The Turkish authorities are nowhere near bringing to justice all those who bear responsibility for the murder of Hrant Dink, said Amnesty International on the second anniversary of the death of the journalist and human rights defender.

Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International, said:

“Hrant Dink was murdered for the expression of his non-violent opinions, apparently with the tacit agreement of elements within the Turkish law enforcement agencies.”

Twenty suspects accused of planning and carrying out the murder have been brought to trial. In a separate investigation, eight members of the gendarmerie face charges of negligence. However, there has been no progress in investigating and prosecuting police officers for failing to act on warnings that Hrant Dink was being targeted for assassination.

Reporting in July 2008, the Turkish Parliamentary Human Rights Commission found that there was negligence and lack of coordination on the part of the security services in failing to prevent the murder. In addition, leaked details of the Inspectorate of the Prime Ministry’s report into the role of the security forces in the murder of Hrant Dink reportedly revealed that police officers at both the Trabzon and Istanbul Security Directorates failed in their duty to protect Hrant Dink although they had information about the planned murder.

Nicola Duckworth said:

“The authorities should make public the report by the Inspectorate of the Prime Ministry.

“There is now a wealth of evidence upon which the judicial authorities must act. An investigation should be re-opened so that all implicated members of the police forces and gendarmerie are brought to justice.”

Background

Hrant Dink was shot dead on 19 January 2007 outside the offices of the Agos newspaper of which he was the editor. He was best known for his willingness to debate openly and critically issues of Armenian identity and official versions of history in Turkey relating to the massacres of Armenians in 1915. Prior to his death he was repeatedly prosecuted for expressing his non-violent opinions.

On 2 July 2007 the criminal trial of 19 suspects accused of planning and carrying out the murder began. Since this time another suspect has been added to the trial. The next hearing will take place on 26 January.

At the current time eight members of the gendarmerie including Trabzon District Gendarmerie Commander, Ali Öz are being prosecuted for ‘dereliction of duty’. Ali Öz is accused of failing to pass on information of the plot against Hrant Dink and of obstructing the revelation of this evidence after the murder.

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