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Writer's trial moved to higher court

(BIANET/IFEX) - Turkish journalists striving to reveal facts about the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink are being prosecuted at special authority high criminal courts whereas officials who failed to prevent Dink's murder are being tried at magistrate courts.

In the hearing on 15 September 2010, the Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance decided to transfer the file of journalist Kemal Göktas to the special authority high criminal court, where the suspects in the murder of journalist Dink are being tried. Turkey was recently handed down a heavy fine by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in connection with the Dink murder. The founder of the "Armenian Agos" newspaper, Dink was killed in front of his office in broad daylight on 19 January 2007.

"Vatan" newspaper reporter Göktas stands trial on charges connected to his book "The Hrant Dink Murder: Media, Judiciary, State" on the background of the assassination. It was claimed in the hearing that the offence he committed was "against the state security".

Göktaş' lawyer, Filiz Aydin, appealed against the court's decision. If the appeal is dismissed, Göktas will be tried at a special authority high criminal court.

Meanwhile, the case against the eight gendarmerie officers of Trabzon, who are accused of neglecting their duty prior to the Dink murder, is being tried at the magistrate criminal court.

While books are being prosecuted, the Hrant Dink murder case continues. A small group of people from the Pelitli district in Trabzon (eastern Black Sea coast) are being tried. Their case will be continued on 25 October.

The Minister of Justice, Ahmet Davutoglu, said that he regarded freedom of expression as an important issue and that he had initiated efforts to reduce the number of files on freedom of expression and similar issues brought to the ECHR.

Davutoglu announced that the government was not going to submit any further defence for files on freedom of expression, apart from a few exceptions.

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