Armenian Journalists Facing Prison Sentences in Turkey

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Hrant Dink, Arat Dink, Serkis Seropyan and Aydın Engin, all employees of Agos, an Armenian newspaper published in İstanbul, have each been charged with "attempting to affect legal proceedings" by the Sisli 2nd First Instance Court for their alleged attempts to tamper with Hrant Dink's trial earlier this year. The four journalists will be tried under the 288th article of the Turkish Penal Code, and face a possible 6 months to 3 years in jail if found guilty.

In his indictment, the public prosecutor claimed that the defendants attempted to influence the result of Hrant Dink's earlier trial by way of articles published in Agos, of which Dink is the editor. In response to the indictment, Hrant Dink said, "It is impossible for a man not to be puzzled. I am the defendant at the same time. It is a basic right for a defendant to attempt to affect the legal proceedings. If a defendant is not trying to affect the legal proceedings, then he would do this? We would go, face the court and see the results."

Hrant Dink was found guilty in October of insulting Turkey's national identity, a conviction for which he received a suspended sentence of 6 months imprisonment. He claims he will appeal this decision.