Hrant Dink Killing Verdict "Contradictory and Shocking" Says the EFJ

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), today expressed its surprise at the contradictions in the verdict concerning the murder of Turkish author and journalist Hrant Dink as his colleagues commemorate the fifth anniversary of the killing.

"The Court announced that the premeditated killing of a journalist was not an "organised" crime, while nearly a hundred Turkish journalists are currently in jail charged with organised terroristic activities. We are shocked by such a contradictory verdict" said the President of the EFJ Arne König.

Yesterday the "specially authorised" 14th High Criminal (Penal) Court in ?stanbul found Yasin Hayal guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Erhan Tuncel, accused of planning Dink's murder, was not found guilty but was instead sentenced to 10 years and 6 months for his involvement in the bombing of a McDonalds restaurant before Dink's death. The actual gunman, Ogün Samast, was first sentenced to life imprisonment which was then reduced to 22 years and 10 months because he was a minor when he committed the crime.

Astonishingly, the court also ruled that Dink's killing was not an "organised crime": meaning the criminals did not act as an "organised group" but were assumed to have acted in a private capacity. For this reason, Erhan Tuncel is free today, following the normal criminal law procedure, because he had already spent five years in jail prior to the trial.

Tomorrow, the EFJ and some of its affiliates in Europe will commemorate the 5th anniversary of the killing of Hrant Dink, with celebrations or messages to their government in defence of press freedom in Turkey.

Currently 97 journalists are in jail in Turkey and many of them accused of being members of "terrorist organisations".  In November 2011 the EFJ led an international mission, in co-operation with other international press freedom groups, with the aim of showing support for the immediate release of all Turkish journalists who appear to have been jailed because of their work. The EFJ President was in Istanbul twice in the past weeks to witness the continuation of the trials.

The EFJ is the European group of the International Federation of Journalists
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in 30 countries

For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235.2200