The trial over the murder of dissident Kurdish journalist and writer Musa Anter will be subject to statute of limitations as of 20 September, on the 30th anniversary of one of the darkest political crimes in Turkey’s recent history.
The last hearing in the case will be held on 15 September, five days before it becomes statute barred.
The prominent Kurdish intellectual, born in the southeastern province of Mardin, was killed in 1992 in Diyarbakır, after he was added to a list of 28 people, mostly Kurdish, threatened with death in a leaflet circulated in southeast Turkey.
A Kurdish-speaking man had asked him to help settle a dispute. He drove Musa Anter and a relative, Orhan Miroğlu, to the outskirts of the city, where he reportedly shot them with an automatic pistol.
Miroğlu, who was allegedly a Turkish intelligence agent, miraculously stayed alive despite severe injuries, while Anter died on his way to the hospital.
“My father was killed because of his opinions and beliefs. They will let his slaughter go unpunished due to inadequate prosecution,” his son Dicle Anter told the left-wing Birgün newspaper on Saturday.
In 2009, Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched an inquiry into Hamit Yıldırım as the hitman, as well as Mahmut Yıldırım, a contract killer widely known by his code name “Yeşil” (Green in Turkish), retired Colonel Şafak Gevrekçi and confessor Abdulkadir Aygan.
Hamit Yıldırım was arrested as the suspect in Anter’s murder in 2012, 20 years after the event and three months before his case was to be dropped due to the statute of limitations, which was extended by 10 years as a result. The case was transferred to Ankara over security issues after the first hearing.
The trial in Anter’s murder was later merged with the trial relating to the Gendarmerie Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism (JİTEM) Organisation, which is held responsible for most of the extrajudicial killings of the 1990s among other crimes, including establishing death squads. A criminal court in Ankara released Hamit Yıldırım in 2017, stating that he had completed five years on remand in prison.
After almost 30 years, Anter’s murder remains an unsolved mystery and his murderers have still not been brought to justice.
“They ended the life of a person, those responsible of have not been held accountable and now they want to impose statute of limitations on my father’s murder trial,” his son told Birgün. “The testimonies of people around my father at the time of his death are still missing,” he added, referring to inadequacies in the prosecution process.