Fugitive convicted of aiding in murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist extradited to Turkey

A Turkish citizen who was sentenced to 12 years, six months in prison for his role in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was detained by Kyrgyz authorities and extradited to Turkey, where he was incarcerated, Turkish Minute reported, citing BBC’s Turkish service (BBC Türkçe).

The 52-year-old Dink, editor-in-chief of the Turkish-Armenian bilingual Agos weekly, was shot dead with two bullets to the head outside the newspaper’s headquarters in central İstanbul on Jan. 19, 2007 by Ogün Samast, a then-17-year-old jobless high-school dropout.

Ahmet İskender was convicted of aiding in the murder by hiding the murder weapon after the assassination, giving Samast money to use in the execution of the murder and using his mobile phone as a means of communication for carrying out the murder.

Kyrgyz authorities detained İskender at Turkey’s request on Feb. 26 and handed him over to Turkey on March 26 after due process, BBC Türkçe quoted Turkish law enforcement as saying.

Dink received many death threats for writing about the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I, which Turkey still denies.

After murdering Dink in front of his office in İstanbul’s Şişli district, the ultranationalist Samast was caught, tried and sentenced to 22 years, 10 months in prison by the 2nd Juvenile High Criminal Court on charges of “premeditated murder” and “possessing an unregistered firearm.” The Supreme Court of Appeals upheld Samast’s sentence in March 2012.

A total of 77 people, including police officers and intelligence agents, have been accused of involvement in Dink’s murder since 2007. A series of trials have been held, which, according to critics, had no clear or satisfactory conclusion because of hidden links between the state and the masterminds of the murder.

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