16 September 2010
Amnesty International has welcomed a European Court of Human Rights ruling that Turkey failed to protect the life of journalist and human rights activist Hrant Dink, who was killed in Istanbul in 2007.
In Tuesday’s ruling, the Court found that the Turkish authorities had failed to act on information they received that could have prevented Dink’s murder and had failed to investigate the role of state officials in his death. Turkey was ordered to pay Dink’s family compensation of 105,000 euros (£88,000).
„The Turkish authorities must now, for the first time, investigate all the circumstances around the death of Hrant Dink and bring those responsible to justice, whatever their position of power,“ said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s expert on Turkey.
The Court also found that Turkey had violated Hrant Dink’s right to freedom of expression in prosecuting and convicting him for „denigration of Turkishness“ in 2005 and for failing to protect him from an ensuing hate campaign by ultra-nationalists.
Hrant Dink, a Turkish citizen of Armenian decent, was killed on 19 January 2007. The editor of the Agos newspaper and contributor to the influential daily Zaman was shot outside the Agos offices in Istanbul.
Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Turkish authorities to investigate evidence of collusion and negligence by state officials in the case.
Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, met Hrant Dink’s family during a recent visit to Istanbul.
Dink was best known for his willingness to debate openly and critically issues of Armenian identity and official versions of history in Turkey relating to the massacres of Armenians in 1915. He was repeatedly prosecuted for expressing his opinions.
In 2005, he was given a six-month suspended prison sentence after he was accused of denigrating „Turkishness“ in writings about the identity of Turkish citizens of Armenian origin.
The trial of 19 people accused of involvement in Hrant Dink’s murder continues.
However, criminal investigations of members against police and gendarmerie officers, who had knowledge of the planned murder but did not act to prevent it, have all but collapsed.