European Journalists Demand Justice over Targeted Killing in Cyprus

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has demanded that the Turkish government and the authorities in the north of Cyprus renew their investigation into the killing of journalist Kutlu Adali who is thought to have been targeted by Turkish security agents or unknown assassins of the administration in the northern part of Cyprus.

Adali, a political columnist with the leftist daily Yeni Duzen who opposed the division of Cyprus, was shot dead outside his home in the island's divided capital of Nicosia on July 6, 1996. He had received work-related threats prior to his murder.

The EFJ meeting of journalists' leaders in Varna, Bulgaria, at the weekend responded to an appeal from its members in Basin Sen, representing journalists in the northern part of the island, to protest to the authorities over reports that they had closed the file on the investigation without finding the killers. The case has been on the agenda of European journalists for some years and was highlighted at a similar conference in Bilbao in April 2005.

The controversial handling of the case has troubled journalists on both sides of the border and led to a ruling by the European Court for Human Rights in 2005 that Turkish authorities had failed to conduct an effective investigation into the murder of journalist and ordered the government to pay 20,000 Euros (US $26,000) in damages to his wife Ilkay Adali.

She sought damages in 1997 from the Turkish government, which maintains effective control over the northern part of the island claiming that the authorities ordered the killing. However the European court said there was not enough evidence to conclude that security agents were involved in the murder.

"This case must not be closed until justice has been delivered," said Arne Konig, President of the EFJ. "It is a scandal that so many years after a brutal and targeted assassination, there is an attempt to quietly close the file. Turkey and the authorities in the north of Cyprus must take their responsibility and put new efforts into finding the killers."

The record of the police investigation into the case is a tale of incompetence and wilful disregard for justice, says the EFJ. The European Court had found that the authorities failed to "investigate the possibility that the murder had any link to his work as a journalist" and that much of the inquiry " was conducted only after the applicant's case before the European Court had been communicated to the Turkish government."

Adali's wife is still campaigning vigorously for justice, but she was informed in writing that the case was closed by the office of the public prosecutor in the north of the island.

"The shadow of injustice, impunity and scandalous disregard for the rights of journalists hangs over this case and this must be put right," said König.

For more information contact the EFJ at   +32 2 235 2202

The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in 30 countries