The Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court acquitted Milliyet newspaper reporter Nedim Şener in the case related to his book entitled "The Dink murder and the intelligence lies". Şener stood accused of "violation of secrecy" and "identifying officials on anti-terrorist duties as targets".
In the book, he wrote about the negligence and attempts to cover up this negligence of gendarmerie, police and the Turkish secret service prior to the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007.
In the previous hearing on 28 April, the prosecutor had demanded a three-year prison sentence for Şener under charges of "identifying people as targets for terror organizations". He was sued by Ramazan Akyürek, then Chief of Police in Trabzon (Black Sea coast), Ali Fuat Yılmazer, Deputy Chief of the Istanbul Police, intelligence police officer Muhittin Zenit and Intelligence Branch Manager of the Trabzon Police Directorate Faruk Sarı.
The complaint was filed with Şener because he "obtained and published confidential information" based on the transcript of a phone call between police informant Zenit and Erhan Tuncel half an hour after the murder of Hrant Dink.
Court: Dink file cannot be confidential
However, in the hearing on 4 June, the court announced that the names of the complainants and some of their code names were included in the Hrant Dink murder trial file at the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court and thus confidentiality had been lifted anyways.
Şener's lawyer Yücel Döşemeci requested the acquittal of his client. In his final plea he reiterated his demand not to punish Şener because of a violation of secrecy. "If it is not a violation of secrecy to publish the documents, how can it be seen as a breach of law to publish the included information?" Döşemeci asked.
Döşemeci stated that his client merely took the effort for the public benefit to disclose illegal implementations of public offices regarding a murder case that is being followed in the whole world.
Şener one of IPI's press heroes, awarded by the Turkish Publishers Association
Döşemeci drew attention to the fact that due to his book Şener was among a group of 60 journalists chosen as international "press heroes" by the International Press Institute (IPI). Moreover, Şener received the Award for Press Freedom from the Turkish Publishers Association (TYB) on 3 June.
In the hearing on Friday, intelligence officer Muhittin Zenit claimed to punish Şener, putting forward that he was being harmed because his codename used for 15 years was disclosed in the book
In the hearing on 24 April, Şener had presented a banner to the court, showing Hrant Dink and an elderly women in Erivan under the heading "1,500,000 + 1" (in reference to the killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century). Şener criticized, "Look, the world cares for the Hrant Dink murder much more than we do. We are even sued for writing about the extent of the unlawfulness related to the murder".
Defence lawyer Seyfettin Uzunçakmak demanded the punishment of complainants Yılmazer and Sarı under article 6/1 of the Anti-Terror Law (Disclosure and Publication). However, Prosecutor Celal Kara objected.
After a brief intermission, the court announced its verdict and said that there was no basis for a conviction. (EÖ/VK)