ISTANBUL—Commenting on a Tuesday court ruling that sentenced a suspect in the Hrant Dink murder to life in prison while acquitting all suspects of state-sponsored terrorism charges, Turkey’s Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said the case has not concluded yet.
“You know trials are made up of three phases, which are investigation, prosecution and the appeals process. There is also an appeals process for this trial. The case has not been concluded yet; it is still in progress,” Ergin said in response to a question during a press conference on Wednesday, Today’s Zaman reports.
The justice minister referred to the Supreme Court of Appeals, which will issue a final ruling in the case. He said he would make further comments on the issue when the appeals process is completed.
In what many said was a shocking and frustrating ruling on the five-year-long trial in the Dink case, the İstanbul High Criminal Court cleared all suspects in the case of membership in a terrorist organization, angering lawyers and many others who say the trial failed to shed light on alleged connections between the suspects and state officials.
The court convicted Yasin Hayal, a major suspect in the killing of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, of instigating a murder and sentenced him to life in prison, while another suspected instigator, Erhan Tuncel, was acquitted by the court.
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç also criticized the ruling on Wednesday saying it did not satisfy the “public conscience.” However, he added that the case has not yet been concluded.