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Cablegate: First Open Session of Dink Murder Trial

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RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHIT #0370 1910845
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 090845Z JUL 08
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 7782
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY
INFO RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
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RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ISTANBUL 000370

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL AM TU
SUBJECT: FIRST OPEN SESSION OF DINK MURDER TRIAL

REF: A. A. 07 ISTANBUL 0577
B. B. 07 ISTANBUL 0897

1. The sixth session of the trial of the accused murderers
of Agos newspaper editor Hrant Dink convened on July 7 and
was for the first time open to the public, since the primary
murder suspect, Ogun Samast, is no longer a minor. In
addition to U.S. Consualte General istnabul observers,
members of the Hrant Dink family and members of the Turkish
and European Parliaments attended the proceedings. Eleven
suspects were present at the trial, while eight remained in
jail. Three suspects (Ogun Samast, Erhan Tuncel, and Yasin
Hayal) responded to questioning and two witnesses (Hayal's
uncle Coskun Igci and Hakki Bahadir Cihan) testified. The
major revelation was Igci's testimony that he informed
gendarmerie officers in Trabzon at least four times prior to
October 2006 of Hayal's intention to assassinate Dink and
tried to dissuade Hayal of his plans.

2. From time to time the trial descended into buffoonery,
mostly at the instigation of Hayal's lawyer, Fuat Turgut.
Turgut, known in legal circles for his flamboyant style of
advocacy, was dressed in a fluorescent green shirt and bright
red tie and hinted at Armenian and Jewish involvement in
Dink's murder. For example, even after the accused Tuncel
gruffly corrected Turgut's persistent assertions that his
girlfriend was Israeli, Turgut continued to ask questions
in which he embedded the supposition. During his questioning
of Samast, Turgut asked if the Turkish-Armenian writer
Etyen Mahcupyan had called Samast while he was in front of
the Agos office prior to murdering Dink. The question
prompted Samast to respond sarcastically that in fact it was
the singer Jennifer Lopez who had called him.

3. Comment: The next hearing in the trial is scheduled for
October 13, 2008. Although such scheduling may appear
tortuously languid to observers accustomed to the common law
trial system utilized in the U.S., this pace is standard
in the Turkish justice system. For instance, it took four
years of trial for the same tribunal to find Al Qaeda members
guilty of the 2003 bombings of the British Consulate and two
Istanbul synagogues. End Comment.

WIENER

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