Suspects in Hrant Dink murder case released two days after arrest
Activists hold placards and chant slogans reading 'we all are Hrant, we all are Armenians' in front of the Çağlayan Courthouse in Istanbul, during the last hearing at retrial of the Hrant Dink case Jan. 7. AFP photoTwo suspects in the Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink murder case, who were arrested in Trabzon two days ago, were released on Jan. 9 after interrogation.
Zeynel Abidin Yavuz and Osman Hayal were considered key suspects, and arrest orders for them were issued after they failed to attend an initial hearing.
Yavuz is said to have been the first triggerman chosen to murder Dink while Hayal’s brother, Yasin Hayal, has been charged with being the instigator of the assassination.
The Supreme Court of Appeals had overturned the acquittals of top suspects, including Yasin Hayal. Hayal and other 18 suspects, including Erhan Tuncel and Ersin Yolcu, are set to stand again in the retrial, which resumed on Sept. 17, 2013.
The sudden release of the suspects shortly after their arrest comes 10 days ahead of the 7th anniversary of Dink’s murder.
The renowned editor-in-chief of Agos, which has been the voice of the small Armenian community in Istanbul for several decades, was shot dead by Ogün Samast in front of his office in Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007. Samast was sentenced to over 22 years in jail for the murder.
Lawyers representing the Dink family have repeatedly expressed their dismay over the way the investigations and the trial were conducted.
One of the lawyers, Fethiye Çetin, said last September that the current stage was “far behind the starting point,” as the indictment of the retrial will review whether a “terrorist organization” plotted the murder, a point that was simply assumed in the first trial.
Çetin argued in a recently-published book that the order to kill was given by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) via an encrypted message.
The self-named group “Friends of Dink,” which is made up of journalists, relatives, friends and other intellectuals, also accuse the state of being responsible for the murder.