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    » 10/05/2011, 00.00

    TURKEY – VATICAN

    Trial of Mgr Padovese’s murder begins

    Geries Othman

    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.
    Iskenderun (AsiaNews) – The first, low-key hearing in the murder trial of Mgr Luigi Padovese was held today.

    Mgr Luigi Padovese, a Capuchin, had his throat cut by his young driven Murat Altun (see Geries Othman, “Mgr Luigi Padovese assassinated in southern Turkey,” in AsiaNews, 3 June 2010, and ibid., “Mgr. Padovese's driver charged with murder. Doubts about his "insanity",” in AsiaNews, 4 June 2010), a 26-year-old man who after his arrest gave police a number of reasons for his act, anti-Islamic feelings, an unwholesome and homosexual relationship, madness . . . .

    The hearing lasted about 20 minutes and is set to resume on 30 November. The state attorney read the charges and asked Murat Altun if he had something to say. The accused responded by saying that he did not feel well and asked for a doctor. This was not be the first time that the accused showed signs of his illness.

    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 that he could have avoided trial and could have been set free instead. However, back in June, a medical committee in Istanbul, after analysing Altun case file, determined that he was sound of mind and could be tried.

    In today’s hearing, the defence attorney asked that his client be moved to a hospital, in Adana, until the next hearing, but the judge turned down the request. According to witnesses who were present in the courtroom, Murat Altun looked good and slightly fatter (by 4-5 kilos).

    His entire family was present. When he entered the room, one of his brothers shouted, “Murat, don’t be afraid! God is with you.”

    Only the prosecutors and defence attorneys are involved in the trial. In Turkey, neither the Catholic Church nor the Capuchin Order have no standing in the proceedings because they are not legally recognised and cannot intervene. Mgr Padovese’s family, which could be represented as the injured party, chose silence instead.

    “The same happened for Fr Santoro,” a source told AsiaNews. “I am sorry for Mgr Padovese. He was kind to everyone; he did not deserve his family’s indifference.”
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    See also

    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.

    22/01/2013 TURKEY - VATICAN
    Mgr Padovese's murderer gets 15 years in prison
    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.

    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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