12/13/2011, 00.00
TURKEY
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Mgr Padovese’s murderer is mentally sane

The attempt by Murat Altun’s defence to have him declared legally insane at the moment of the crime fails. Now the trial can go ahead. The next hearing is set for 22 February.
Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Murat Altun (pictured) is mentally fit to stand trial for the murder of Mgr Luigi Padovese, this according to a commission of doctors that examined him to determine his mental state, following an application by the defence.

Following a pattern already used in the case of the murder of Fr Andrea Santoro, who was killed in Trabzon in 2006, doctors in a first examination provided Altun with a certificate indicating that he was not mentally fit to stand trial.

In view of the certificate, a judge ordered a second examination, conducted by a medical commission in Istanbul that had access to all of Altun’s medical and other records, which found that he was sane and could be tried.

This time, Altun’s defence team protested, demanding a second examination, whose results came yesterday, indicating that the bishop’s driver could stand trial.

Thus, the trial can go ahead. The next hearing is set for 22 February. The first two were held on 5 October and 30 November but were suspended after the accused said he felt ill. The second court hearing lasted a total of four minutes.

Altun, 26, was arrested on 3 June 2010, a few hours after Mgr Padovese’s murder. He had worked for the prelate for four years as his driver.

Accused of cutting the bishop’s throat, Altun has found support among Islamic fundamentalist groups as well as his family. Significantly, at the start of the trial, one of his brothers shouted at him, “Murat, don’t be afraid! God is with you.”
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