Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Turkey: Turkey’s Audit Board slams Dink murder case investigation

PanARMENIAN.Net - Turkey’s State Audit Board (DDK) completed a report into the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink today, Feb 20 saying it found mistakes in the questioning of government personnel which adversely affected the efficiency of the overall investigation into the murder.

President Abdullah Gül had ordered DDK to look into the case of Dink's murder after lawyers for the murdered journalist’s family said the trial was not being properly conducted.

The report said the trial was hampered by structural and procedural difficulties even though the culprits were swiftly apprehended.

The DDK also said "gendarmerie and police intelligence units did not work toward the protection of Hrant Dink even though they had learned of a … threat."

The report added that the Turkish state failed to fulfill its obligation to protect human life as pointed out by Article 17 of the Turkish Constitution, as well as the second article of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Turkey is a signatory, Hurriyet reported.

The Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court issued its ruling on Jan 17 in the 25th hearing of the case. Hayal and Erhan Tuncel, the main suspects, who were accused of being instigators, and all other suspects, were cleared of charges of membership in a terrorist organization. The prosecutor and the Dink family's lawyers accused them of acting under the orders of a clandestine criminal network suspected of having ties with senior state officials and military and police officers.

The court handed down a life sentence to Hayal, while Tuncel was given 10 years and six months in prison for his involvement in the bombing of a McDonald's restaurant in 2004. Gunman Ogьn Samast was sentenced last July to nearly 23 years in prison by a separate juvenile court. Tuncel was released.