Thursday, September 20, 2012
Accused Perpetrators of Turkey’s “Malatya Massacre” Put on Trial
By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
ISTANBUL (ANS) -- Nineteen suspects accused of inciting the brutal 2007 murders of three Christians in eastern Turkey went on trial before Malatya’s Third Criminal Court in early September.
According to a story by Open Doors News, with the court’s acceptance in June of a third indictment in the case, known as the “Malatya Massacre” in the Turkish media, allegations against primarily military officials have finally been made public.
“This indictment provides the first solid evidence that our military authorities officially assigned the named suspects to monitor and attack the Christians in Malatya,” Umut Sahin from the legal committee of the Turkish Association of Protestant Churches told Open Doors News.
Open Doors News said the new 761-page indictment alleges that the attack by five young murderers who stabbed, tortured and slit the throats of two Turks and a German citizen in their Malatya office had been masterminded by Hursit Tolon, a retired general in Turkey’s 1st Army Corps, and ultranationalist military officials in the Malatya gendarmerie.
According to the new indictment, a story by Open Doors News reported, the Zirve murders were part of the so-called Cage Action Plan hatched by military officials trying to undermine the AKP government through assassinations, threats and acts of terror against Turkey’s non-Muslim minorities.
Open Doors News said just two days before the Sept. 3 hearings began, Turkish authorities shocked the lawyers for the victims by abruptly replacing the two prosecutors, and two of the three judges, in the case. That left only one member of the judicial panel familiar with the trial’s massive files; presiding Judge Hayrettin Kisa.
Open Doors News reported soldiers testified that the Malatya gendarmerie had been monitoring the handful of Christians in Malatya 24 hours a day. They were tapping their telephones and paying informers some 60 percent of their intelligence budget to collect data on their activities, sometimes in cooperation with police and secret intelligence officials.
After the attack, the gendarmerie officers tapped the telephones of the victims’ families, lawyers and judges in the case, and then gave false documents and testimony to manipulate the trial, trying to portray the three murdered Christians as criminals linked with illegal groups like the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the soldiers testified.
Open Doors News said hearings on the case will resume on Nov. 12, when Tolon and the remaining alleged perpetrators are scheduled to testify.
For more information about Open Doors News go to www.compassdirect.org/about/
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