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Turkish court clears state of neglect of duty in 2007 murders of Christian publishing house employees

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A Turkish court has acquitted the Interior Ministry and the Malatya Governor’s Office of neglect of duty in the brutal murder of three employees of Christian publishing house in 2007, ordering the return of TL 900,000 ($155,000) in compensation given to the victims’ families following a 2015 ruling that was appealed by the ministry and governor’s office, the Hürriyet daily reported.

On April 17, 2007 Tilmann Geske, a German national, Necati Aydın and Uğur Yüksel were brutally murdered in Malatya by five assailants who had accused the victims of conducting missionary work in Turkey.

The families of the victims filed criminal complaints against the Interior Ministry and the Malatya Governor’s Office due to the fact that the assailants had been planning the murders for months.

In a 2015 ruling an administrative court in Malatya had ordered compensation be given to the families, a decision that was appealed by state officials.

Two years later, a chamber of the Council of State overturned the local court’s ruling, and a retrial was held in Malatya.

In the retrial, the Malatya court cleared the state bodies of neglect of duty, stating that the assailants were captured by security forces as quickly as possible and that there was no other security threat targeting the families.

Ali Koç, a lawyer for the victims’ families, said the murders should have been investigated as a crime involving multiple parties and that the murderers had planned the act for eight months before the incident.

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