Prosecutor disputes Dink ruling, insists on terror tie

Prosecutor disputes Dink ruling, insists on terror tie

ISTANBUL
Prosecutor disputes Dink ruling, insists on terror tie

Chief justice Rüstem Eryılmaz in Hrant Dink’s murder case expresses disappointment and says they could not identify any organizational connections in a legal sense. Hürriyet photo

The chief justice in the Hrant Dink trial has expressed dissatisfaction with his court’s contentious ruling as Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office has lodged to appeal the court verdict over Dink’s murder yesterday. Chief justice Rüstem Eryılmaz told reporters yesterday that the institution issued the heaviest possible sentence based on the evidence in the judiciary’s possession and added that he is personally dissatisfied with the ruling.

“We ruled to acquit [the suspects] from the charge of [establishing and managing an illegal] organization. This decision does not mean that an [illegal] organization does not exist. This means there was not sufficient evidence with respect to organizational activities,” chief justice Rüstem Eryılmaz said yesterday.

We could not identify any organizational connections in a legal sense, Eryılmaz said.

However, prosecutor Hikmet Usta said in a petition he filed yesterday that the evidence for organization behind the murder was already in the case file.

Although Erhan Tuncel did not reject claims of being in an organization in his defense, The evidence that proved the suspect’s cooperation to commit the murder were overlooked, the prosecutor said.
Usta recalled that the court forgot to give a verdict on one of the suspects which he said was “the major evidence that the case file was not examined thoroughly.”

In his petition Usta said police informant Erhan Tuncel abused his duty as a police informant and politically directed Yasin Hayal to the murder “unfortunately the court decided to release him,” Usta said.

Expectations
The high expectations for the trial led to frustration with the court’s decision, he said, adding that he was personally dissatisfied with the decision because there had to be an instigator.

Conspirator Yasin Hayal was sentenced to life in prison Jan. 17 for his role in the 2007 killing, but alleged co-conspirator Erhan Tuncel was acquitted in the case, angering Dink’s family members and lawyers, who wanted to see more people charged with the crime.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç castigated Eryılmaz for indicating that his conscience was dissatisfied with the ruling, adding that such remarks did not befit a judge.

It is necessary to cast aside any personal emotions or thoughts and wait for the final verdict after the appeals process, Arınç said. The comments were echoed by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli criticized the judge’s comments and said such remarks cast a shadow over the process.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, meanwhile, said it would be inappropriate to pass judgment on the verdict because the case is now set to enter the appeals process. “I believe, however, that it would be [prudent] to monitor and follow the appeals process as everything is not yet finished.,” Erdoğan said.

Hrant Dink, Istanbul Chief Prosecutor, Rüstem Eryılmaz