Turkey - Two Trabzon gendarmes accuse superiors of doing nothing to stop Dink murder

    MONTREAL, March 21 /CNW Telbec/ - Two gendarmes from the northeastern
city of Trabzon, Okan Simsek and Veysel Sahin, testified yesterday in court
that they told their superiors about plans to kill journalist Hrant Dink six
months before his murder on 19 January 2007, but their superiors did nothing
and later threatened them with reprisals if they mentioned the information.
    Simsek and Sahin, who are on trial for failing to react after learning
about a plot to murder Dink, said they told the head of the Trabzon
gendarmerie and their unit chief that they had learned from police informer
Coskun Igci that a relative of his, Yasin Hayal, was plotting Dink's murder.
Hayal is himself currently on trial as one of the murder's masterminds.
    "The confessions of these two Trabzon gendarmes are chilling," Reporters
Without Borders said. "The security forces in Trabzon might have been able to
prevent Dink's murder if they had taken action. All those who were aware of
this information and did nothing must be severely punished."
    Questioned in court yesterday in Trabzon, the two gendarmes said they
were ordered to perjure themselves when there was an investigation after
Dink's murder. They accused their superiors of doing nothing to ensure that
adequate measures were taken to prevent the murder.
    Their testimony confirms what Igci, the informer, told a police court in
Trabzon three months ago, on 22 January. The two gendarmes added that a report
detailing Igci's information was subsequently written on the orders of
gendarme commanders Ali Vz and Metin Yildiz and was backdated to 20 January
2007 to make it look as though it was sent immediately after Dink's murder.
    The court trying the two gendarmes has summoned all 10 senior gendarme
officers who were allegedly told at a meeting of the plan to murder Dink.
    A criminal court in the Istanbul suburb of Sili meanwhile sentenced Zafer
Filiz yesterday to three years in prison for sending a racist and threatening
email to the headquarters of Dink's newspaper, Agos, on 1 February 2007, 12
days after his murder.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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