Turkey ‘Failed To Protect’ Assassinated Journalist

Author: Catherine Bolsover Editor: Susan Houlton

Deutsche Welle
Sept 14 2010

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Turkish authorities
failed to protect the life of a dissident journalist who was shot
and killed by right-wing extremists.

The European Court of Human Rights has said the Turkish state was
negligent and did not do enough to protect the well-being of a
journalist who was assassinated in 2007.

Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was shot dead outside his
newspaper’s office, following a series of threats and attacks. The
court said authorities should have done more to protect him and have
ordered the government to pay 105,000 euros ($135,000) to Dink’s
family in compensation.

“The Turkish authorities were aware of the danger the journalist
was in, yet did nothing to protect him,” said a statement from the
Strasbourg court.

Hate figure for extremists

Hrant Dink was writer and editor-in-chief of “Agos”, a bilingual
Turkish-Armenian weekly newspaper published in Istanbul since 1996. In
a series of articles published between 2003 and 2004, he sought to
address issues of Armenian identity in modern-day Turkey. His articles
were seen as a provocation by extreme nationalist groups who staged
demonstrations and wrote threatening letters.

Bildunterschrift: Gro├čansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:
Authorities knew there was a plot by nationalists to assassinate Dink
>>From 2004 onwards, Dink was put on trial numerous times for speaking
out and opponents alleged that he had insulted the Turkish people in
his articles. In October 2005, a complaint was upheld by the criminal
court in the Istanbul district of Sisli and Dink was convicted of
“offending Turkishness”.

Although Dink did not ask for police protection, he did inform them
that he regularly received threatening letters from extremists. Police
were also aware that there was a plot to assassinate him.

On 19 January 2007 he was shot in the street, killed by three bullets
to the head. A suspected assassin was arrested, however proceedings
are still ongoing.

Failure to protect life

Bildunterschrift: Gro├čansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift:
Many Turks were unhappy with the state’s investigation into Dink’s
murder According to the Strasbourg court, the Turkish authorities
knew about the “intense hostility” towards Dink and said the threat
of assassination was “real and imminent.” Yet none of the three
authorities that knew about the risk took any action to prevent it.

The court prosecuted the authorities for failing to uphold Article
2 of the European Convention on Human Rights – which lays down that
states should guarantee to protect life.

The authorities have also breached Article 2 on a second count of
failing to effectively investigate how Dink’s death occurred.

Further breaches of Article 10 (suppression of Hrant Dink’s freedom
of expression) and Article 13 (lack of an effective remedy) of the
Convention were also upheld by Strasbourg.

From: A. Papazian


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