Europe

Hrant Dink murder: Turk Ogun Samast jailed

Archive photo of Hrant Dink in Istanbul, November 2006
Image caption Hrant Dink was one of the most prominent voices in the Turkish-Armenian community

The Turkish killer of the ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink has been sentenced to nearly 23 years in prison.

Ogun Samast, a Turkish ultra-nationalist, was 17 when he carried out the killing in January 2007.

A panel of judges sentenced him to life imprisonment, but commuted the term because he was a minor at the time.

Dink was the editor of a bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper, and had been prosecuted and convicted of denigrating "Turkishness".

His offence was describing the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman forces in the early 20th Century as genocide.

He was shot dead by Samast outside his office in Istanbul.

Several other people are also being tried for conspiracy over Dink's killing.

Dink's lawyer, Fethiye Cetin, said the sentence sent a strong signal.

"Ogun Samast and other suspects were not expecting this sentence. This could ruin their hope of being freed soon," he told Reuters.

"This is very important to deter this sort of crime."

The European Court of Human Rights ruled last year that Turkey had failed to protect Dink, despite being warned that ultra-nationalists were plotting to kill him.

In June, a Turkish court gave two military officers and four other officials jail sentences for failing to act on the intelligence.

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