Nine years after the torture and killing of three Christians in 2007, a civil court in Turkey has ruled that the Turkish government failed in its duty to protect them. On 18 April 2007, Uğur Yüksel, Necati Aydin and Tilmann Geske were murdered at the Zirve Publishing House, a Christian organisation where all three worked. The brutal killing was carried out by five youths who were detained at the scene and were each found with identical notes reading: “We did this for our country…. They are attacking our religion.”
The 26 January civil court verdict found that both the Turkish interior ministry and Malatya governor’s office ignored reliable intelligence that Turkish nationalists were targeting the three Christians prior to their murder. The court has ordered the interior ministry to pay close to 1 million Turkish lira (AU$474,000) to the victims’ families.
Susanne Geske, Tilmann’s widow, says that she does not believe the three families will see the money anytime soon. Court appeals could potentially take years to settle. The money is welcome, but she says it is hard to place a monetary value on her husband’s life, or the lives of the other two men who died for their faith. The next hearing is scheduled for 1 March.
A new reform law that limits pre-trial detentions to a maximum of five years resulted in the release of all five suspects in March 2014. Though ordered to house arrest and fitted with electronic monitoring systems, the men have been seen walking freely through Malatya.
Source: The Voice of the Martyrs US