Trabzon court requests merger of Hrant Dink cases

A Trabzon court has asked for the merging of a case against a gendarmerie commander on charges of neglect of duty over the assassination of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, with the main trial in Istanbul, the Hurriyet Daily news reports.

Ali Öz, who was Gendarmerie Commander of the Black Sea province of Trabzon during the killing of the late journalist, was sentenced to six months in prison. However, as the Supreme Court of Appeals reversed the decision, he was put in another trial in Trabzon.

In addition to Öz, seven soldiers at his command had also been charged with prison sentences.
Öz was accused of not informing authorities that the crime organization founded by Yasin Hayal, who was charged with being the instigator of the assassination, and his friends were going to commit the crime, despite learning it in 2006. He was also facing charges of forging documents to pretend to have only obtained the information after the incident.

Dink, the renowned editor-in-chief of Agos, was shot by triggerman Ogün Samast in front of his office in Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007.

In the hearing as part of the new case opened in Trabzon, the suspects’ hometown, against Öz, the court delayed the hearing requesting the merger of the Öz case with the main case into Dink’s slaying in Istanbul.

The interim decision of the court said: ”Ali Öz didn’t take legal action despite receiving the intelligence information that the crime organization founded by Yasin Hayal and his friends was preparing for the assassination. As there is the possibility of serving or aiding and the need of the detection of the organization’s structure and operations, it has been decided that it would be more appropriate for the case to be tried with the case at Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court.”

The main Dink trial resumed on Sept. 17 as the Supreme Court of Appeals verdict defined the acts of all suspects in the case under “an organization formed to commit crime.”

Dink’s family and his supporters rejected the premise of the retrial that the defendants were part of a criminal conspiracy and argued that the state was involved in what amounted to a terrorist conspiracy.

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