Turkey13 November 2007
Two Trabzon police officers who knew about plot to murder journalist are charged with “abuse of authority”
Two police officers in the northeastern city of Trabzon have been charged in connection with their failure to report what they knew about plans to kill Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian editor of the weekly Agos, prior to his murder in Istanbul last January, the Turkish press reported on 8 November. Trabzon is the city where most of the people on trial for Dink’s murder were from.
The Trabzon prosecutor has charged Veysel Sahin and another police officer identified only by the initials O.S. with “abuse of authority” under article 257.2 of the criminal code. They are expected to respond to the charges before a local magistrate’s court soon and face a possible sentence of six months to two years in prison.
Sahin is on the list of witnesses due to be heard in the Dink murder trial taking place in Istanbul. During the second hearing in the trial on 1 October, the Dink family’s lawyers asked for him to be added to the list of trial witnesses.
The decision to charge Sahin and O.S. suggests that six other members of the Trabzon police force who allegedly knew about the murder plan are not to be prosecuted. They include Muhittin Zenit, who had a conversation with Erhan Tuncel, one of the murder’s alleged organisers, that was recorded.
One of the Dink family lawyers, Erdal Dogan, has said he was not told about the decision to charge the two police officers. The next hearing in the Dink murder trial, which began on 2 July, is to be held on 11 February.
Dink was gunned down on 19 January outside the Istanbul office of the Armenian and Turkish-language newspaper he edited. He had been prosecuted several times because of his comments about the massacres of Armenians in 1915. He was given a six-month suspended prison sentence in 2005 and, at the time of his death, he was facing a possible three-year sentence for describing the massacres as genocide in an interview for Reuters.