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Hrant Dink murder trial adjourned until December

The sixth hearing in the retrial of defendants accused of assassinating Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was held at the 5th High Criminal Court in İstanbul on Thursday morning, only to be adjourned until December with minimal progress having been made, Today’s Zaman reports. 

Despite eight years having passed since the murder of the journalist, efforts to pinpoint suspect Osman Hayal in the security camera footage stills from the incident have failed. Dink, the late editor-in-chief of Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, was shot and killed in broad daylight on Jan. 19, 2007, by an ultranationalist teenager outside the offices of his newspaper in Istanbul.

Evidence discovered since then has led to claims that the murder was linked to the “deep state,” a term that refers to a shadowy group of military and civilian bureaucrats in Turkey believed to have links with organized crime. Now, the Dink family lawyers are intent on having the identity of Osman Hayal verified from the security camera footage taken from the Akbank Bank and Saray Drapery, located near the Agos headquarters during the incident. Osman Hayal, who was released pending trial, is the brother of Yasin Hayal, who confessed to telling then-minor Ogün Samast to murder Dink.

The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey claimed after initial investigations that there are too many people in the frame to identify the suspect. During Thursday’s hearing, the court accepted Dink’s family’s lawyer Hakan Bakırcıoğlu’s request that newly marked men in the security footage be identified by Council

The next hearing will be held on Dec. 22.

A group of activists called Friends of Hrant who are closely following the case held a demonstration outside the Caglayan Courthouse prior to the hearing, also making a statement.

“We will continue to stand on duty for justice. This case will not be over until the real suspects are tried and our friend’s murderer receives the punishment they deserve. We are tired of repeating our request for the true suspects to be tried. In fact, we are not the only ones requesting this,” stated Baran Seyhan on behalf of the activist group.

“The state and its State Supervisory Board have also clearly identified those who need to be tried. As the lawyers have shared, Article 83 of the Turkish Penal Code deals with negligence causing death due to the failure to take appropriate action to prevent the death, and the state is protecting those who are behind the murder,” Seyhan stated.

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