41 Probes in Dink Case Settled Out of Court
Dink attorneys to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights
ISTANBUL (Hurriyet Daily News)—A recent response from Turkey’s Interior Minister to a question raised in Parliament revealed that 41 investigations against police officers named in the case of assassinated journalist Hrant Dink were settled out of court
The Dink family lawyers said they will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights after exhausting all domestic legal avenues one more time, while Dink’s brother Orhan Dink said “this was the scenario’s last scene.”
The Turkish Interior Ministry revealed that police officers investigated in relation to the Dink case did not receive any judicial punishment apart from the forfeiture of pay and a reprimand.
Cem Halavut, one of the principal lawyers of the case said administrative punishments like forfeiture of pay and reprimanding an officer were not what they demanded as they had asked for the officers to be taken to court and tried.
“Prosecutors say they could not reach the evidences, administrations of institutions say they did their share and that the ball is in the prosecutors’ court. This shows that they pass the ball around well,” Halavut told the Hürriyet Daily News Tuesday in a phone interview.
Any new investigation kicked off at this point will find it nearly impossible to reach the evidence as six years have passed since the murder, Halavut said.
He also said there were numerous documents and pieces of evidence revealing the responsibility of public personnel in the murder.
The Interior Ministry announced the judicial and administrative proceedings for the law enforcement officers who were found responsible in the assassination of Armenian journalist Dink. According to the announcement, no judicial investigation authority was given to eight police officers, “no need for an additional prosecution” was decided for 31 officers, and two officers were acquitted.
Orhan Dink, the brother of Hrant Dink, said his family was weary of the justice system.
“There is nothing to be surprised about this. We had demanded an effective official investigation but it failed. The large part of the State Supervisory Council’s (DDK) murder report argued that the judicial process was problematic and that police officers were not investigated since their chiefs’ permission was not taken,” he told the Daily News.
Dink said the authorities do not want to extend the case over a long period of time to ensure the public forgets what happened.
Halavut also said they have been waiting for the Supreme Court of Appeals’ verdict which will be the end of the domestic judicial process. If necessary they will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
After Hrant Dink, the chief editor of weekly Agos, was assassinated in Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007, judicial and administrative investigations were launched against public personnel, including police and gendarmerie, whose negligence was detected to be effective in the murder. The results of the investigations were brought to the Turkish Parliament’s agenda with the written parliamentary question issued by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu. The Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin’s response to the question reached the Parliament Speaker’s Office.
“Within the preliminary investigation about Hrant Dink’s murder, all the necessary works were conducted in accordance with the orders of Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office, and all the information obtained for the identification of offenders was sent to the chief prosecutor’s office and added to the investigation file at the earliest possible opportunity,” Şahin said in a written response to the parliamentary question.
Şahin also announced the results of the judicial and administrative procedures launched for police and gendarme officers detected in Trabzon and Istanbul. Şahin made 41 decisions about the officers and each of them included impunity. “The authorized court decided to give no judicial investigation authority to eight police officers, and decided that there was no need for an additional prosecution for 31 officers. Two officers were acquitted and the prosecutor’s investigation about one officer is still ongoing,” Şahin said.
“Four gendarme officers were charged with four-month prison sentences, one was charged with a six-month prison sentence and two officers were acquitted,” Şahin said about the gendarme officers.
“One officer got long-term suspension, five received forfeitures of pay, three received reprimand and one received warning on the grounds that their negligence affected the incident,” Şahin said about the administrative punishments given to the officers.