Dink Lawyers Demand Details of Phone Records

Hrant Dink

ISTANBUL (Hurriyet Daily News)—During the 23rd court hearing of slain Armenian journalist Hrant Dink case, one of the lawyers of Dink family said the phone conversations that Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) provided to the court do not include all the records from the area.

Suspect Yasin Hayal is under pressure not to disclose significant information, Fethiye Çetin, one of the prosecution lawyers representing the family of Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist assassinated in 2007, said yesterday.

“When we consider the four-year-long trial process, it seems apparent we have not made any progress, even though all the guilty parties are manifest,” lawyer Çetin told the Hürriyet Daily News.

The 23rd hearing of the Dink trial began Tuesday, approximately two hours late due to the delayed arrival of suspects Yasin Hayal and Erhan Tuncel. The hearing yielded no results, however, and the case is still stuck in a deadlock.

“Yasin Hayal’s mental health is quite balanced. He can divulge a lot of things, but he is under pressure from different quarters not to talk. Nevertheless, he would be saying a lot if he could speak,” Çetin said.

Çetin also said they had met with Bahattin Hayal, suspect Yasin Hayal’s father, who had claimed to be in possession of important information pertinent to the case. But he divulged nothing the prosecution did not already know about, she said.

Meanwhile, a group of 200 people gathered in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district and marched toward the Istanbul’s Court for Serious Crimes in protest of the apparent lack of progress in the case.

Demonstrators included Hrant Dink’s wife Rakel Dink and his brother Orhan Dink, as well as Sezgin Tanrıkulu, the deputy leader of the opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP), Levent Tüzel, an Istanbul deputy of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), and other high-profile figures.

“[Phone] records from the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) dominated the public’s attention throughout this one year, and especially since May. TİB records were of course important, but it should not be forgotten we are talking about thousands of records. The truly important thing, we believe, was the silence of those caught on camera footage on the day of the murder,” Çetin said.

The Dink family’s lawyers also raised an objection to the trial of the suspects in the Black Sea province of Trabzon solely on the charge of “dereliction of duty,” according to the Doğan news agency.

“These men have solely been tried on the charge of dereliction of duty, whereas they are partners in manslaughter through dereliction,” prosecution lawyer Bahri Belen said in relation to claims gendarmerie commanders Ali Öz and Metin Yıldız had been notified about the murder six months earlier by suspect Coşkun İğci, Yasin Hayal’s brother-in-law.

The Dink family’s lawyers had prepared a 200 page file connecting the history of the Armenian issue with the murder and read the document’s first half during the previous hearing.

While the first half of the file was primarily about the historical dimension of the problem, the second half read a variety of other topics, including indictments, the suspects’ testimonies and other relevant assessments.

The Dink family’s lawyers also argued in favor of merging the two separate case files in Istanbul and the Black Sea province of Samsun.

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