Terror charge dropped for Dink’s murderer
ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Ogün Samast, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the murder was released from the charge of “membership of a terror organization”. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIKAn Istanbul court issued a verdict for the release of Ogün Samast, the hitman who assassinated the Turkish – Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007, from the charge of “membership in a terror organization” Dec. 16.
Chief Prosecutor Ali Demir requested Samast’s state of arrest be upheld in light of the quality and nature of the charge, the existence of strong criminal doubt and current evidence.
The defendant’s lawyer Levent Yıldırım, however, requested an end to his client’s continued state of arrest, arguing even if he were to be convicted of the charge, the resulting sentence would still be shorter than four years and 11 months; the length of time Samast has already spent in prison, he said.
The court delegation ruled in the defendant’s favor and decided to release him from the charge of “membership in a terror organization,” citing a legal amendment regarding children and the amount of time he had already spent behind bars.
Nevertheless, Samast will continue serving prison time as he has already been formally convicted of premeditated murder.
Fethiye Çetin, one of the Dink family’s lawyers, said they requested the court take measures to prevent the deletion of phone records pertaining to the case after a lapse of five years. Upon the Dink family’s lawyers’ request, the court had demanded phone records from the vicinity of the crime scene from the Telecommunications Authority (TİB), but the TİB had delayed for months before it delivered the records in question.
Dink, a Turkish journalist of Armenian origin was shot in front of his office in January 2007. The killer Ogün Samast was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the murder.