ECHR: Turkish State Liable in Dink Murder
In what could prove to be a very significant decision, the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights today announced that it has ruled that the Turkish state was liable in the 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. In its ruling, the court also decided that the Turkish state had denied Dink his freedom of expression prior to his murder.
The court case was initiated by Dink himself, after he was convicted for "insulting Turkishness" because of a column he wrote for Agos, the Turkish-Armenian newspaper he edited until his death. Dink's family then filed a separate case after his murder in January, 2007, accusing Turkish authorities of failing to take appropriate steps to protect his life after he received numerous death threats. The two cases were later merged.
The outspoken Dink was shot three times in the head on the sidewalk in front of the Agos offices. His accused murderer, Ogun Samast, who was 17 at the time of the killing, is currently on trial, but the case has been dragging on and the Dink family has accused the Turkish judiciary of failing to take the case seriously.
The Turkish state has faced criticism that it failed to do enough to protect Dink, despite repeated threats to his life by ultra nationalists. There have also been questions about whether certain members of Turkey's police force played a role in the incident.
Following Samast's arrest, for instance, pictures were leaked to the press showing members of the police force proudly posing with the accused murderer.
'This decision should not be the end of the story,' says Emma Sinclair- Webb, a Turkey researcher for Human Rights Watch.
'The authorities and the court should view this as a push to get to the bottom of this case, find out who the murderers were and uncover any possible collusion by elements of the state in the killing,' she added.
A detailed statement about the judgement from the ECHR can be found here.