Senate panel adopts Biden resolution honoring Hrant Dink
YEREVAN (YERKIR) – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopted on
March 28 human rights legislation, authored by the panel’s chairman
and presidential candidate, Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), condemning the
murder of journalist and human rights activist Hrant Dink and calling
on the Turkish government to repeal the law, Article 301, under which
he was prosecuted, reported the Armenian National Committee of America
The measure was adopted unanimously by voice vote at March 28 meeting
of the Committee. At its last meeting, on March 6th, the panel, at the
request of its Ranking Member Richard Lugar (R-IN), had deferred
consideration of the legislation for three weeks.
During this time, the measure came under heavy attack from both the
Turkish government and its allies in the Administration. Despite their
efforts to cut any reference to the Armenian Genocide, the resolution
noted Dink’s persecution because of his speech on the Genocide.
The legislation condemns Hrant Dink’s murder as "a shameful act of
cowardice perpetrated with contempt for law, justice, and decency,"
and honors his commitment to "democratic values, non-violence, and
media freedom." It specifically notes that he was "subjected to legal
action under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for referring to
the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide." It also calls on the
Turkish government to repeal this anti-free speech law and "work
diligently to foster a more open intellectual environment."
"We want to thank Chairman Biden for his leadership in honoring Hrant
Dink’s memory by urging the Turkish government to repeal Article 301 –
the law under which he was prosecuted," said ANCA Executive Director
Aram Hamparian. "Article 301, and others on the books in Turkey,
reflect and encourage the environment of hatred and intolerance that
the Turkish government has long fostered against Armenians –
particularly those who speak truthfully about the Armenian Genocide."
Hrant Dink, editor of the bilingual Armenian/Turkish "Agos" newspaper,
was gunned down outside his office in Istanbul on January 19th –
sparking worldwide protests and renewed scrutiny of Turkey’s
repression of free speech and international campaign of Armenian