Hrant Dink’s assailant reportedly ready to break silence

The triggerman who shot dead Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink almost eight years ago has finally decided to “speak up” about the murder, according to a news report.

“I will speak up,” assailant Ogün Samast, who was only 17 years old when he shot Dink in front of his office in Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007, was quoted in daily Taraf as stating in a letter sent to the prosecutor in charge of the investigation.

Samast, who is jailed in the high-security F-type prison in Kandıra, Kocaeli, said in his letter that he wanted to give a new testimony, Taraf reported Nov. 25.

In a statement delivered two years ago, Samast explained that the murder was committed in line with a “three-stage plan,” Taraf reported.

“There is a matter which I haven’t so far explained anywhere, including before the court. I met a person three months before the murder … I will explain who this person is and his relation with the Dink murder,” Samast was quoted as saying at the time.

Dink was assassinated by Samast in broad daylight on a busy street outside the offices of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos in the city’s Şişli district. The assassination caused outrage across the country, sending hundreds of the thousands to the streets in mass rallies.

Samast was sentenced to 22 years by a children’s court for the murder, but lawyers representing the Dink family have repeatedly expressed their dismay over the lack of investigation regarding individuals or groups who allegedly commissioned the murder.

In late October, the trial took a significant turn after the court in Istanbul overseeing the case announced that it would focus on the “criminal organization” allegations against suspects, a move that lawyers representing the victim’s family had demanded since the start of the retrial.

Accordingly, Samast is also likely to be tried on new charges, as the court ruled to associate his case with the main murder trial.

In early November, the Constitutional Court said civil servants and institutions allegedly implicated in the murder should be investigated.

Former Istanbul Police Chief Celalettin Cerrah was supposed to testify to the prosecutor in charge upon the top court’s decision. However, Cerrah met the prosecutor and notified him of “his excuse” for the postponement of his testimony, Taraf also reported, adding that Cerrah wants to be accompanied by his lawyer, who is currently abroad, during the testimony.

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