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    » 02/05/2009, 00.00

    TURKEY

    A new suspect in the murder of 3 Christians in Malatya



    It is believed the head of an ultra nationalist organisation masterminded the execution. Five risk life in prison, two others only one year.

    Ankara (AsiaNews/Agencies) A Turkish court has charged a new suspect over the 2007 murders of three Christians in Malatya, the country's east. Seven young men are already on trial over the killing of German missionary Tilmann Geske and Turkish converts Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel in the offices of publishing house Zerve. The three men were found with their throats slit.

    The new suspect, Varol Bulent Aral, is charged with "being the leader of a terrorist organisation" and "the murder of more than one person as part of the organisation's activities”.

    Charges that Aral masterminded and instigated the murder come from the group already in prison.  Five of the men went to the publishing house on the pretext about wanting to discuss Christianity and then tied the missionaries, questioned them about missionary activities, tortured them and slit their throats. The publishing house had already received threats and its employees had sought police protection.

    In the trial that began in November 2007, the prosecutor has charged that the defendants set up an "armed terrorist organisation to forcefully impose their ideological convictions on others”. He asked life in prison for 5 of them.  Another two suspects risk one year in prison for having aided the murderers.

    At the time, many Turkish intellectuals blamed ultranationalist press and politicians for the incident for having continuously underlined a “Christian danger”, which – in their opinion – is the result of numerous conversions from Islam.  In reality, according to the Minister for Home Affairs, between 199 and 2001, 344 Muslims out of a total population of 70 million were baptised.

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    See also

    12/04/2012 RUSSIA
    Leading member of Moscow’s Muslim community killed
    Metin Mekhtiev was from Azerbaijan. Suspicions of yet another racially motivated attack perpetrated by militant ultranationalist. In 2011, 21 murders were racially motivated.

    18/04/2007 TURKEY
    Four killed, three with their throats cut, at Bible publishing house
    Zirve, a publishing house in Malatya, is attacked. It had received threats for some time. Ultra-nationalist groups are suspected.

    26/11/2009 RUSSIA
    Rising tensions between Orthodox and Muslims following a priest’s murder
    Patriarch Kirill and Grand Mufti Gainuddin try to calm things down. Fr Daniil Sysoyev, a fiery missionary, had many enemies among Islamic extremists and Russian ultranationalists. No lead has yet emerged in the investigation to find his assassin.

    26/11/2007 TURKEY
    Trial of Malatya Christian’s assassins opened and adjourned
    One of lawyers for the victim’s families denounces a lynching campaign by local press, who he says are well informed of his every move. EU and American diplomatic representatives attend trial.

    16/12/2007 TURKEY
    Izmir: Fr. Franchini out of danger
    Msgr. Luigi Padovese, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia confirms to AsiaNews, adding: “They can only hypothesise on the author of this attack, what remains certain is that attacks against Christians continue. There are many diseased branches on the tree of Turkey”.



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