Armenian origin soldier killed accidentally: Court

Armenian origin soldier killed accidentally: Court

Armenian origin soldier killed accidentally: Court

A man touches Sevag Balıkçı’s picture during the funeral of the Armenian origin soldier killed by a private while serving his compulsory military service. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

A Diyarbakır military judge sentenced yesterday a private to four years and five months in prison for killing Armenian-Turkish soldier Sevag Balıkçı with “conscious negligence,” but stopped short of sentencing the suspect to the more serious charge of deliberate murder.

“It seems my dear Sevag’s life was that cheap, so killing is legal,” the dead soldier’s mother, Ani Balıkçı, told the Hürriyet Daily News on the phone yesterday.

Ağaoğlu, who killed Balıkçı on April 24, 2011, will serve three years in prison for killing Balıkçı “with a stray bullet.” 

In passing the sentence, the Diyarbakır Air Force Command Military Court dismissed the Balıkçı family’s lawyers’ demands to sentence Ağaoğlu on charges of deliberate murder. Ani Balıkçı and lawyer Cem Halavurt said they would appeal at a higher court and would consider carrying the case to the European Court of Human Rights if their demands were not met. They will also hold a press conference on the court verdict. “We are determined to continue our legal battle,” Balıkçı said. “We may even take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if we have to.” 

Activist Garo Paylan noted that the date of Balıkçı’s killing was the anniversary of April 24, the annual date recognized internationally for remembering the victims of violence at the end of the Ottoman Empire.

“He was killed on an April 24 and it coincided with Easter, but the judge did not pay heed to our warnings,” Baylan said. “The investigation should have been extended.” 
Paylan said Ağaoğlu’s lawyers were expecting the decision. 

“After the decision was announced, they made statements such as, ‘The minorities are our brothers,’” Baylan said. “That was a decision they had been expecting.”