10/11/2012, 00.00
TURKEY
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Hearing in Mgr Padovese murder trial postponed again after five minutes

The defendant's lawyers ask for a new witness to be heard and some phone conversations to be entered as evidence. Murat Altun, Mgr Luigi Padovese's driver, is the only person accused in the murder, which took place on 3 June 2010. The next hearing is set for 28 October.

Ankara (AsiaNews) - The latest hearing in the trial of Murat Altun, the lone suspect in the murder of Mgr Luigi Padovese, lasted five minutes in Iskenderun. Local sources told AsiaNews that the defence asked that a new witness be heard and that some phone conversions be entered as evidence. Thus, for the umpteenth time, the court postponed the trial until 28 October.

Mgr Luigi Padovese, a Capuchin and the Episcopal vicar for Anatolia, was stabbed to death and then beheaded by his driver, Murat Altun, on 3 June 2010. After his arrest, the 26-year-old man tried to justify his deed by pinning it on a number of motives: anti-Muslim feelings, a morbid homosexual relationship and madness.

As in the murder case of Fr Andrea Santoro (2006, Trabzon), Altun's lawyers entered an insanity plea, presenting medical certifications claiming that their client was not fit to stand trial. However, in June 2011 a medical commission in Istanbul determined that the defendant was of sound mind and body and that he could be tried.

So far, hearings have been brief and regularly postponed. The first hearing on 5 October lasted 20 minutes. After the charges were read, the prosecutor asked Altun what he had to say. The latter said he did not feel well and that he needed medical attention. The same occurred in subsequent hearings, which lasted on average four to five minutes.

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