12/01/2011, 00.00
TURKEY – VATICAN
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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.
Iskenderun (AsiaNews) – The second hearing in the trial of Murat Altun, who murdered Mgr Luigi Padovese, ended in Iskenderum after four minutes. Sources told AsiaNews that the accused arrived in court late by 20 minutes. As in the first hearing on 5 October, when the judge asked him whether he would enter a plea, the accused said that he did not feel well. At that point, the defence attorney asked the court to suspend the hearing. The trial will resume on 22 February 2012.

Mgr Luigi Padovese, a Capuchin, had his throat cut on 3 June 2010 by his 26-year-old driven Murat Altun. After his arrest, the latter gave police a number of reasons for his act: the prelate’s alleged anti-Islamic feelings, an unwholesome and homosexual relationship, madness.

Following a script used in the case of Fr Andrea Santoro (killed in 2006 in Trabzon), doctors certified Altun as suffering from medical illness. This meant he could avoid trial and go free. However, in June of this year, a medical committee in Istanbul, after studying Altun case file, determined that he was sound of mind and fit to stand trial.

“The defence is trying everything to get a new medical evaluation,” a source said. “This is a joke and an insult to Mgr Padovese’s family and the Turkish Church. On top of the unfairness of the situation, there is silence of the Italian government and the Holy See.”

For Iskenderun’s Catholic community, the delay in the trial is compounded by the absence of a bishop.

“A year and a half after Mgr Padovese’s murder, no one has taken his place,” the source explained. “The Holy See has not appointed anyone yet and no names have been mentioned. Still, people are still willing to wait and full of hope.” (S.C.)
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