Turkish Christians are disappointed that no verdict was given today in a long-standing murder trial following the killing of three Christians in Malatya in 2007. Today (28th June) the 114th hearing took place and court officials had informed a relative and a Turkish church leader that a verdict would be given, but the trial was adjourned until 28th September.
Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske were murdered on 18th April 2007 at the Zirve Christian publishing house in Malatya in eastern Turkey. Five men, aged 19 and 20 at the time, were arrested at the scene and charged with the murders. Their trial became increasingly complicated as a result of efforts to identify those behind the perpetrators and to link the trial to political events in Turkey. The reassignment of judges, prosecutors and other court officials also resulted in significant delays.
On 10th March 2014 the five perpetrators were released from prison and put under house arrest with electronic tags. However, they have been seen moving around freely – to the dismay of relatives of the victims and the small Christian community in Malatya.
Relatives of the victims expressed their disappointment in the Turkish justice system. In an interview with journalists, Tilmann’s widow Susanne Geske, who was present with her children, made it clear that she had expected a verdict to be issued. She said: “Nine years have now passed and I haven’t seen anything. A lot of things have changed. I now only have confidence in God’s justice. I will be surprised if a fair decision will be given.”
The mother of Ugur Yuksel, Hatice Yuksel, was also present and commented that she was very tired of coming and going over the last nine years. She said: “I lost my child. On this holy day at least won’t they (the defendants) speak the truth? How is it that the murderers remain free?”
The trial was adjourned until 28th September with the expectation that a verdict will be given then.
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Turkish Christians request our intercession, asking that:
a. family members and others close to the victims will continue to know the peace and protection of Jesus and not be too disappointed by the delay in giving the verdict
b. just sentences will be handed out to those responsible for the crime
c. all those responsible for the murders would have a deep conviction about what they have done, and seek Jesus’ forgiveness
d. the Christian community in Turkey will be encouraged and strengthened as the trial reaches a conclusion
e. all judges, other officials, lawyers and journalists involved will be drawn to the Father’s love, forgiveness and acceptance