Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals has overturned previous rulings acquitting the Hrant Dink murder convicts of connections to a criminal organization, saying the murder was committed by an armed crime gang, Hurriyet Daily News reports.
In the ruling announced today, the court approved the sentences given to suspects but overturned the decision that acquitted them of crime gang connections.
The previous ruling, which claimed that there was no crime gang connection in the murder of Dink, had been highly controversial, causing a stir in public debate.
The suspects will now be on trial again in the Istanbul court that gave the initial rulings.
Dink, an Armenian-Turkish journalist, was assassinated in Istanbul in January 2007 by Ogün Samast, a 17-year old Turkish nationalist, in front of the offices of Agos, the weekly for which he was the editor-in-chief.
After two years of proceedings Samast was convicted on July 25, 2011, of premeditated murder and illegal possession of a firearm by Istanbul’s Juvenile Court for Serious Crimes and sentenced to 22 years and 10 months. Another suspect, Yasin Hayal, was convicted of ordering the murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Following a five-year trial, the court had ruled on Jan. 17, 2012, that it saw no “deep state” role in the plotting of the assassination, despite serious claims that a number of civil servants were “indirectly” involved. The ruling was overturned a year later by the Supreme Court of Appeals, which led to prosecutors restarting their probe into the murder.