Turkish court rules to release 2 police officers from prison in Hrant Dink case

Shortly after the detention of Hrant Dink’s murderer Ogün Samast, his photograph and footage were exposed as he was standing in front of Turkish flag together with some police officers who were praising him.

A Turkish court on Tuesday ruled to release police officers Yakup Kurtaran and Özkan Mumcu, who are standing trial in a case involving the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink on January 19, 2007, from prison.

The latest hearing in the trial regarding the murder of the Agos weekly newspaper’s former editor-in-chief Dink took place at the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court. The court ruled for the release of police officer Kurtaran, who was with the Samsun Police Department at the time, and police officer Mumcu, a former officer from the Intelligence Office of the Trabzon Police Department, from prison on the grounds that both have presented their defences before the court.

The court ordered judicial probation for Kurtaran and Mumcu and imposed an international travel ban on the two. Kurtaran was one of the police officers who posed for a picture with Ogün Samast, the murderer of Hrant Dink in front of a Turkish flag when he was apprehended in Samsun province days after the murder.

Dink was shot dead on January 19, 2007 in front Agos’ then-main office, located on Halaskargazi Street in Şişli. Every year since then thousands of people have attended a commemoration ceremony for him, laying carnations at the spot where he was killed.

Despite the passage of 11 years since his death, little progress has been made regarding Dink’s case. Samast, who was 17 at the time of the murder, was sentenced to 23 years in 2011. But speculation about the involvement of other groups inside and outside the state apparatus has persisted, and a number of slow-moving investigations are still ongoing.

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