At the second hearing of triggerman suspect Ogün Samast at the Juvenile High Criminal Court, Samast said that he was not guilty of killing journalist Hrant Dink but the headlines that called him a traitor. "Where are they now?" Samast asked.
Ogün Samast is the prime suspect of the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007. Dink was editor-in-chief of the Armenian Agos newspaper at the time. The hearing at the Juvenile Court in Gülhane (Istanbul) on Tuesday (5 April) was held under broad security measures in the court house and its environment.
"The ones who wrote those headlines should think"
Samast presented a letter he had written to the court at the Tuesday hearing. He wrote, "I am not guilty. Guilty are the headlines that showed Dink as a traitor. I removed the rubbish in front of me; now the ones who wrote those headlines should think. Where are they now, the ones who brought me that far? I would not even know the Agos newspaper. Today, I would sit down with Hrant Dink and talk to him". Samast added, "Everything started with the football match between Turkey and Georgia in 2004".
The Istanbul 2nd Juvenile High Criminal Court heard four witnesses. One of them said that he saw three people from behind in a street close to the scene of crime and that the clothes of one of them resembled the clothing of Ogün Samast.
Lawyer Belen: He talked with the voice of the instigators
Lawyer Bahri Bayram Belen, joint attorney of the Dink family, assessed Samast's letter as follows, "Samast talked with the voice of the ones who instigated him to this murder. He identified some newspapers and journalists as targets".
In a statement made to the Turkish news channel NTV, Belen said, "For the first time, Ogün Samast said that there were others apart from Yasin Hayal today. Even though he is a junior high school graduate, he referred to Ziya Paşa. He talked with the voice of his instigators. He identified some newspapers and journalists as targets".
"Hrant was killed for what he wrote, researched, thought and said. In the letter, other journalists and columnists are being accused. In a sense, they were shown as targets. This is a very important and the first serious statement throughout the whole legal procedures".
"Samast said 'I was made a victim. I did not know and I would not understand. I did not know Hrant. I was being instigated to commit this murder by certain thoughts conveyed to me'. He wants to say 'Many young people like me could have killed Hrant without thinking if they had heard these words'. For the first time, he said that there were others who persuaded him to commit the murder".
"He talked about the moment of the murder in the previous hearing. He said again today, 'I set out to kill Hrant Dink but then I tried to find excuses not to shoot him. I committed the murder because I was afraid of Yasin Hayal'. These words are a simple defence strategy. The important thing is the letter and the conveyed thoughts".
"I do not think that the reference to the year 2004 is of much importance. He gave that date to show some reasonable and legitimate grounds".
"You may not like the opinions of journalists, television speakers and writers. However, it is unacceptable to kill a journalist or writer because you do not like and do not approve of his/her opinion".
"This statement confirms our defence and what was said previously. Maybe the people who are really responsible for the murder will be disclosed".
Facing up to 42 years in jail
Samast is facing a prison sentence of between 18 and 24 years for the murder of Hrant Dink on 19 January 2007. Furthermore, the indictment seeks prison terms of between 8.5 and 18 years on charges of "membership in a terrorist organization" and "carrying an unlicensed weapon". (BB/EÖ/VK)