Turkey fails to deliver justice for murdered Armenian journalist as trial ends

News
January 16, 2012

Turkey fails to deliver justice for murdered Armenian journalist as trial ends

The Turkish authorities have failed to address state officials' alleged involvement in the killing of journalist and human rights activist Hrant Dink, Amnesty International said today, as the trial of 18 people accused of his murder drew to a close.

Hrant Dink, a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, was killed on 19 January 2007 outside the offices of the Agos newspaper where he was the editor.

When the trial ends on Tuesday, almost five years to the day after the death of Hrant Dink, the authorities will still not have investigated the full circumstances behind his murder.

"Hrant Dink was murdered for peacefully expressing his opinions," said Andrew Gardner Amnesty International’s expert on Turkey.

"The security services knew of the murder plot and were in communication with those accused of the murder yet nothing was done to stop it taking place.

"Nothing short of a full investigation into the actions of all the state institutions and officials implicated in the murder will represent justice."

Calls by the Dink family to investigate the collusion and negligence of state officials in the murder, backed by a European Court of Human Rights judgment in 2010, have not been heeded.

In July 2011 Ogün Samast, 17 years old at the time of the murder, was found guilty of shooting Hrant Dink and was sentenced to nearly 23 years in prison by a Children's Court.

He was initially given a life sentence but the term was commuted because he was a minor at the time of the murder.

In June, Colonel Ali Öz and six other Trabzon Gendarmerie officials were convicted of negligence for their failure to relay information of the plot that could have prevented the murder.

"The actions of the Trabzon Security Directorate, Istanbul Governor’s office and the Istanbul Security Directorate have not been effectively investigated," said Andrew Gardner.

"The authorities must address this immediately and ensure that Hrant Dink and his family receive the justice they deserve."

Hrant Dink was best known for being critical of the Turkish government over issues of Armenian identity and over official versions of history in Turkey relating to the massacres of Armenians in 1915. He was repeatedly targeted for expressing his opinions.
 
In 2005, he was given a six-month suspended prison sentence for "denigrating Turkishness" in writings about the identity of Turkish citizens of Armenian origin.