Turkish prosecutors have brought new charges against Ogun Samast, the physical perpetrator of the murder of Turkish journalist Hrant Dink of Armenian origin, after the killer was released from prison last week, Hurriyet Daily News reports.
Samast was released after spending 16 years behind bars. He is now accused of “committing a crime on behalf of an armed terrorist organization without being a member of it”, with the prosecution demanding that he be imprisoned for 7.5 to 12 years.
The well-known journalist and editor-in-chief of the weekly “Agos” Hrant Dink was shot in broad daylight in front of his office 16 years ago by Samast, then a 17-year-old unemployed high school dropout, reports BTA.
The indictment cited Samast’s 2014 statement implicating instigators Yasin Hayal and Erhan Tuncel. The document alleges that FETO, the group blamed for the 2016 coup attempt, took control of Istanbul intelligence after Dink’s murder.
Despite the lack of concrete evidence confirming Samast’s membership in FETO, the indictment concerns his relations with leaders and members of the organization. The contacts reveal that Samast, along with other suspects, acted in accordance with the organization’s interests and goals during and after Dink’s murder.
If the indictment is accepted, Samast will again face the court system.
On July 25, 2011, Samast was sentenced to life in prison under aggravated circumstances for Dink’s premeditated murder. The sentence was later reduced to 21 years and six months, taking into account his age at the time of the crime.
In a related case, another court sentenced him to five years and one month in prison for assaulting guards during his prison stay.
The release of Ogun Samast caused public outrage. The Ministry of Justice revealed that he was eligible for judicial review relief in 2022 but chose not to exercise that right.
Hrant Dink worked for reconciliation between Turks and Armenians, but was hated by Turkish nationalists for what he described as genocide in the mass slaughter of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.