ISTANBUL (Doğan News Agency)—An Istanbul court on Thursday issued its final ruling in the Hrant Dink murder case, saying there was no evidence indicating the existence of an organization behind the crime, despite lingering doubts.
“If a [terrorist] organization does exist [behind the crime], then it has not been ascertained when and for which purpose it was established. It has not been ascertained on which principles and crimes the organization’s founders established their mutual wills. If there is a structure that presents continuity, then no information could be obtained as to what kinds of actions they have undertaken since Jan. 19, 2007,” read the court’s ruling made public Thursday.
The 216 page ruling also said no organization leaders or members could be identified, and that no evidence could be found to demonstrate the organization was in possession of the necessary means to commit the crimes in question either.
“There is only the fact that a murder leading to so many political consequences was committed by the suspects without an organization [standing behind them], and that this constitutes a situation that runs counter to the natural flow of life,” said the ruling.
The court ruling also said tha while this situation creates doubt, the criminal law holds that doubt should be interpreted in the suspect’s favor.
“It was thus necessary to acquit the suspects due to lack of evidence, as the suspects’ crimes of establishing, leading, abetting and being members of an [illegal] organization could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt with clear and precise facts and evidence that leaves no room for hesitation,” said the ruling.
It seems illogical that the murder was planned and premeditated by juveniles without an organization behind them, but those who planned the murder left no evidence that would establish either a de jure or a de facto connection between the triggermen and themselves, the ruling continued.
“The conclusion could be logically drawn that the evidence could have been more accessible if there was no terrorist organization [behind the triggermen] of a magnitude bigger than previously thought.”
Dink was the chief editor for weekly Agos, a newspaper published in Turkish and Armenian. He was shot dead in front of his office on Jan. 19, 2007 in Istanbul. The shooter, Ogun Samast, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the murder last year.
Another suspect, Yasin Hayal, was sentenced on Jan. 19 to aggravated life imprisonment, while former police informant and suspect Erhan Tuncel was released, leading to the public outcry.