Today was the 10th hearing of the case at Malatya’s 3rd High Criminal Court regarding the murder of the three Protestants, Necati Aydın, Uğur Yüksel and Tilman Ekkehart Geske, also the Zirve Publication workers, who were killed brutally for supposedly doing missionary work.
They say they did not murder anyone and they did not plunder
The five accused, Emre Günaydın, Salih Gürler, Cuma Özdemir, Hamit Çeker and Abuzer Yıldırım, were brought to the court under high security from the Malatya E Type Prison, where they have been for sixteen months.
In addition to the accused and their lawyers, an eight person lawyer team representing the Geske, Aydın and Yüksel families, among them Nalan Erkem, Erdal Doğan, Hafize Çobanoğlu and Murat Dinçer, were present at the court as well.
In the morning session of the hearing, the court heard Hüseyin Yelki as a witness and the defenses prepared against the “qualified plunder” charge of the additional indictment.
Up until today, the accused had denied all the charges, refused tying up and using knives against anyone, claiming that they had gone to the office of the Zirve Publications because they were afraid of Günaydın.
The five suspects tried to pass over the questions regarding the blood stains on their clothes with answers such as “I do not know” or “they got on them while passing.” The accused also denied the charge of “qualified plunder.”
“Are the weapons seen in the car those in custody?”
In the afternoon session, the images that were recorded during the murder were watched. Realizing that one of the weapons did not fit the weapon boxes at the trunk of the Clio type car and the marks on the weapons did not give the impression that they were new, one of the joint lawyers Murat Dinçer demanded an investigation to confirm if the weapons in the images were the same weapons that were in custody.
The court decided to ask for experts about the guns from the list of the Justice Commission.
Varol Bülent Aral could not be heard
The court decided to write to the office of the prosecutor to determine the address of Varol Bülent Aral, with whom Emre Günaydın might have had a work relationship at a local newspaper.
Günaydın describes Aral as a person who saw a connection between the missionary work and the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). In his statement that appeared in daily Star, Günaydın says, “We together went to some house in those days. This was a house of single men. We were alone. I saw a piece of paper on the table by the entrance that was titled PKK’s European Council Report. I said, brother, what is this? He told me that it was the report the PKK had presented to the European Council. Once again he told me that Christianity and the missionary work done in its name had the goal of destroying then the motherland. I asked him if someone should not stop this? He told me to then get up and stop this. I asked him how it could be done. He said they would provide us with the state support.”
Agreeing with the demand made by public prosecutors Ömer Tetik and ŞerefGürkan, head of the court judge Eray Gürtekin decided to ask from Istanbul’s 13th High Criminal Court for a copy of the Ergenekon indictment.
Aral’s name had been mentioned previously in the harassment and threat of one of the joint lawyers Orhan Kemal Cengiz. After the threats, the authorities had provided lawyer Cengiz with protection in Ankara and in Malatya on his trial dates.
The case will continue on September 12
The court decided to send invitations, one more time, to Angus William Reid, Abdullah Mahmut Kudaş and Mehmet Uludağ to bring them to the trial as witnesses.
The court also granted to the joint lawyers until the next hearing day, September 12, to present to the court the list of the witnesses and the subjects about which they will be talking. The court will consider the demand to see the stuff in custody in the next hearing. (EÖ/EZÖ/TB)