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Turkish top court rejects lawyer’s murder case over statute of limitation

The Constitutional Court (AYM) of Turkey has turned down an individual application to hear the case of an unsolved murder case due to the expiration of the statute of limitations, Diken news portal reported on Sunday.

The application was filed by family members of lawyer Kazim Ekinci, who was killed in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern province of Sanliurfa in 1994.

In the 1990s, Turkey’s southeast saw shady, armed figures in white-colored Renault 12  automobiles known as Toros exerting an extrajudicial force on behalf of “the state,” mostly against prominent Kurdish figures.

Amid ongoing conflicts between the Turkish security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a number of seemingly politically motivated murders and disappearances, including the case of Ekinci, occurred.

The Turkish government regards PKK, a militant group that took up arms for Kurdish self-rule in the country’s largely Kurdish southeast, as a terrorist organization. The group has stirred up an insurgency in south-eastern Turkey since 1984.

“You knew the investigation [into Ekinci’s murder] was ineffective. You should have applied within the six months after the AYM began accepting individual applications on September 23, 2012,” the supreme court said in its ruling.

According to a news report by Kemal Goktas from Diken, lawyer Ekinci and his friend Fahri Inan were killed in a parked car when masked assailants inside a white Toros opened fire on them with Kalashnikov rifles in Viransehir district on April 7, 1994.

Although the license plate of the assailants’ vehicle was found and it’s owner identified,  prosecutors have not taken his statement claiming they couldn’t find him and let the case stagnate for years.

In 2009 the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office received an anonymous letter by someone claiming to be a retired police officer. It was claimed in the letter that a local military commander with the initials A.D, founded an illegal organization that killed a number of people, including Ekinci.

The lawyer representing the family then requested a new investigation on the murder with a wider scope. The family also asked in the application for a fast conclusion by the prosecutors, before the expiration of the statute of limitations in April 2014.

But there was no progress made in the investigation and thus the prosecutors decided to drop the case due to the statute of limitations in 2014.

The family of Ekinci then filed an individual application to the AYM, which also has given a similar ruling on the lawyer’s case of an unsolved murder.

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