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    Dink lawyers say future of ongoing case is bleak

    Hürriyet Daily News
    07.07.2009 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    ISTANBUL - It has been two years since the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in front of the offices of the daily Agos in central Istanbul and the Dink family's lawyers are concerned the case will not be broadened enough to cover all aspects. Security forces accused of negligence or of ’hiding evidence’ are not being investigated.

    As the 10th hearing of the Hrant Dink murder case was held Monday in Beşiktaş, the Turkish-Armenian journalist’s lawyers, family and supporters were losing hope of shedding light on the people, including public officials, responsible for his 2007 shooting death.

    Kemal Aytaç, one of the Dink family’s lawyers present in court Monday, said it seemed the case would not be broadened enough. "Erhan Tuncel, one of the suspects, is a police inspector. But the court could not touch any police officials so far," Aytaç told Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

    Out of 41 security forces who were suspects in charge of "hiding evidence from the prosecutors" or "destroying evidence," none of the police officers were allowed to be investigated, and gendarmes are tried in a separate court. The lawyers’ request to merge all the cases and investigate the suspect police officers has not been accepted.

    During the 10th trial, suspects Ogün Samast, the suspected gunman in Dink’s shooting on Jan. 19, 2007, in front of bilingual daily Agos; Erhan Tuncel; Yasin Hayal; Ersin Yolcu; and Ahmet İskender were present.

    The Dink family, including Rakel Dink, wife of Hrant Dink, as well as writer Adalet Ağaoğlu and former head of the Istanbul Bar Association Yücel Sayman, were present in court.Witness Mesme Havva told the court that she saw the murder because she was walking one step behind Dink. She said a young man pushed her and shot Dink behind the head. Havva confirmed that she said in her previous disposition that she heard the young man shout, "Die, Armenian, die," after shooting Dink.

    The suspects were smiling at each other and sometimes at the witness during the trial. As Havva was about to identify them, they continued their behavior until Judge Erkan Canak warned the suspects to be respect the court and not laugh or smile at anyone during the trial.

    Havva also said she saw another man who gestured with his head to leave and then two men started to run away from the scene. Security cameras later showed a figure suspected to be Samast running on the street.

    Havva picked out Yasin Hayal and said he was the "second man waiting near the street." Hayal said there was evidence that he was in Trabzon at the time of murder. Hayal also apologized to the court for his "aggressive behavior" in previous trials. The judge also read a statement by witness Mesut Öz, who said he and Dink bumped into each other on the street in Istanbul’s Bakırköy district three or four days before the murder. Öz said Dink invited him to sit in a cafŽ and that they talked for about half an hour. In his written statement, Öz said he saw a man watching them and that he later saw on TV and learned that he was Ogün Samast. "There was another man who was short and fat, and I did not see him on TV after the murder," Öz said. Samast, however, denied the statement and said he only went to Bayrampaşa, the crime scene in Şişli and Eyüp. Bahri Belen, the Dink family’s lawyer, asked the court to call Öz as a witness to see if he could identify the second man that he saw with Samast among the 20 suspects.

    Yves Oschinsky, president of the Brussels Bar Association and president of the International Conference of the Bars, or CIB; Alexandre Aslanian, a lawyer from the Paris Bar Association; and Vincent NiorŽ from the Paris Bar Association watched the trial. They made a statement after the first hearing that they support the Dink family and their lawyers.
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