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    » 01/22/2013, 00.00

    TURKEY - VATICAN

    Mgr Padovese's murderer gets 15 years in prison

    Geries Othman

    Murat Altun, now 29, says he is sorry for killing the bishops but "At that moment, I was not in control of myself." He could be released for good behaviour after six years.

    Ankara (AsiaNews) - Murat Altun, the young man who killed Mgr Luigi Padovese on 3 June 2010, was sentenced to 15 years in prison. The verdict came at 1 pm local time. According to Turkish legal experts, he has another 12 more years in prison since he has already been in jail for three years. In case of good behaviour, he might be released after six years and five months.

    Murat Altun was 26 years old at the time of the murder. At the end of the trial, he said that he "was sorry for killing Mgr Luigi, who was the last person who could harm him. At that moment, I was not in control of myself".

    Since his arrest, Altun wavered in the explanations he gave for slitting the prelate's throat, blaming successively mental illness, an Islamic ritual or a morbid homosexual relationship.

    As was the case in Fr Andrea Santoro's 2006 murder in Trabzon, Altun's lawyers pleaded insanity, presenting medical assessments indicating that their client was not mentally competent to stand trial.

    In June 2011, a medical commission in Istanbul determined that the accused was mentally competent to stand trial. The latter however proved frustrating as hearings were quickly and repeatedly postponed. On several occasions, various prelates called on the Turkish government to shed light on the murder.

     

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    See also

    05/10/2011 TURKEY – VATICAN
    Trial of Mgr Padovese’s murder begins
    The trial opened today. Its first hearing ended after 20 minutes, adjourned to next November. Murat Altun’s family comforted him, saying, “God is with you.” The accused said he felt ill; his lawyer asked for his hospitalisation. The judge refused.

    13/12/2011 TURKEY
    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.

    01/12/2011 TURKEY – VATICAN
    Second hearing in the trial of Mgr Padovese’s murderer ends after four minutes
    Murat Altun says he is sick. Judge suspends trial held in Iskenderun until 22 February 2012. Speaking to AsiaNews, sources say that claims of illness might be part of a strategy to demand a mental assessment of the accused, who was originally found fit to stand trial. Turkish Catholics are now waiting for the Vatican to appoint a new bishop to fill the void left by mgr Padovese’s death.

    11/10/2012 TURKEY
    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.

    03/06/2011 TURKEY – VATICAN
    Turkish Church remembers Mgr Padovese a year after his murder
    A mass is set to take place in Iskenderun. Mgr Ruggero Franceschini will conduct the service in the presence of the nuncio. As Catholics keep a very low profile, an Istanbul medical commission finds the prelate’s murderer, Murat Altun, fit to stand trial after he was on his way to acquittal on mental health grounds. No trial date has been set yet. An Indian Capuchin priest was attacked last Good Thursday.



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