Former police intel chiefs face up to 25 years in jail over Hrant Dink murder

Former police intel chiefs face up to 25 years in jail over Hrant Dink murder

Former police intel chiefs face up to 25 years in jail over Hrant Dink murder

Several hundred Turkish people hold signs that read "we are all Hrant, we are all Armenian" and "we are here for Hrant and for justice" as they demonstrate to commemorate and protest the killing of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink eight years ago, on January 19, 2014, in Ankara. AFP Photo

Turkey’s top police intel chief and two former police intel unit heads may face up to 25 years in prison each in the investigation launched into the murder of prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

Turkish National Police (EGM) Intelligence Department head Engin Dinç and former police chiefs Reşat Altay and Ahmet İlhan Güler have been accused of “helping commit deliberate murder,” weekly Agos reported Oct. 25, as a new indictment was presented to the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Dinç and Güler were intelligence unit heads of the police departments in Trabzon and Istanbul, respectively, at the time of Dink’s murder, while Altay was Trabzon Police Department head. Dinç, Güler and Altay may receive up to 25 years in jail if the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office accepts the investigation for trial.

The indictment was presented by prosecutor Gökalp Kökçü in an investigation launched against a total of 25 suspects, including Dinç, Güler and Altay, over charges of negligence on public duty after Dink was killed outside his office building on Jan. 19, 2007. 

Meanwhile, former EGM Intelligence Department head Ramazan Akyürek and former Istanbul Police Department Intelligence Unit head Ali Fuat Yılmazer may face life in prison on the charge of “committing deliberate murder,” if the indictment is accepted, as both Akyürek and Yılmazer were on duty at the time of Dink’s murder.

In addition, former Istanbul Police Department head Celalettin Cerrah and former Intelligence Unit head Sabri Uzun will appear in court on the charge of power abuse while on duty, the indictment stated.

Dinç, the current EGM Intelligence Department head and former intelligence unit head of the Trabzon Police Department, allegedly had known about an assassination plot by Yasin Hayal and his illegal organization against Dink since Feb. 15, 2006. However, he failed to notify the Trabzon Governor’s Office, the Trabzon Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), claimed Hakan Bakırcıoğlu, the Dink family attorney.

Erhan Tuncel, the perpetrator of a bomb attack in Trabzon, reportedly became a police informant at the time Dinç was the Trabzon Police Department Intelligence Unit head, from Aug. 26, 2004 to Sept. 19, 2007.

Hayal and Tuncel were accused of encouraging Dink’s murderer to commit the act.

Dink, who was editor-in-chief of Agos, was shot dead outside its office building in Istanbul’s Şişli district on Jan. 19, 2007 by 17-year-old Ogün Samast.

Relatives and followers of the case have claimed government officials, police, military personnel and members of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) played a role in Dink’s murder by neglecting their duty to protect the journalist.