Recent revelations by two gendarmes that their superiors received prior warning of a plan to murder ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in İstanbul early last year have strengthened the case of a Turkish journalist facing trial on charges of insulting the military.
Today's Zaman columnist Lale Sarıibrahim-oğlu is facing prosecution under the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) due to remarks she made concerning images of the gunman who allegedly shot Dink to death posing with a gendarmerie officer and a police officer in two separate pictures published by Turkish dailies.
Gendarmes Sgt. Okan S. and Spc. Sgt. Veysel Ş., appearing in a Trabzon court on March 20, confirmed the earlier testimony of witness Coskun İğci -- the ex-husband of a relative of one of the prime suspects in the Dink murder -- that they had been warned about the plan to murder Dink.
The two soldiers said they informed their superior, Col. Ali Öz, then the Trabzon gendarmerie provincial commander, of the plot. They also testified that they had previously given false statements during the course of the investigation after being pressured to do so by the colonel.
Following the testimonies by the two soldiers, Öz was removed from his post as gendarmerie provincial commander of Bilecik and posted to the Bursa Regional Command, which amounted to a demotion.
The two gendarmes’ testimony has been added to Sarıibrahimoğlu’s case file as evidence justifying her criticism of security forces’ behavior after Dink’s murder.
Sarıibrahimoğlu’s second hearing will take place today at the Bakırköy 2nd Court of First Instance in İstanbul.
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