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Nine culprits in Hrant Dink murder sentenced

Seven defendants in a case over the 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink were sentenced yesterday by an Istanbul court, Daily Sabah reports.

Dink was murdered by Ogun Samast outside the offices of Agos, the newspaper he served as editor-in-chief. His murder sparked public outrage in Turkey, as he was thought to have been murdered because of his ethnic identity and outspoken editorials.

Dink, a Turkish Armenian, was at the forefront of reconciliation efforts between Turks and Armenians.

Samast and nine other defendants were on trial for masterminding and committing the murder. Samast was already sentenced but a new lawsuit was filed for sentencing of others who helped him, including Erhan Tuncel, the alleged mastermind of the murder plot.

Erhan Tuncel, a former informant and the suspected instigator of the Dink murder, was handed down a sentence of 99 years six months in prison for taking part in Dink’s association, being a member of an armed group, and his part in a bomb blast at a restaurant in the Black Sea coastal province of Trabzon. Tuncel was arrested at court.

Yasin Hayal, who previously received a life sentence for his part in the assassination, received seven years six months in prison over forming and leading an armed group.

The court sentenced assassin Ogün Samast, a native of Trabzon who was 16-years-old at the time, to two years six months in prison for membership to an armed group. Samast has also a 22 years 10 months sentence for Dink’s murder.

Four other suspects were handed down less than two-year sentences for their role in the murder, while two defendants, including Hayal’s brother Osman Hayal, were acquitted.

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