Turkish prosecutors on Monday interrogated two new suspects in the killing of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who were detained over the weekend.
Police detained the two on Saturday in Trabzon, the Black Sea port city where all eight other suspects, including the alleged teenage triggerman, lived. Police, meanwhile, released another suspect in Istanbul following his interrogation over the weekend, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported Monday.
Last month's killing of Dink in Istanbul prompted international condemnation as well as debate within Turkey about free speech, and whether state institutions were tolerant of militant nationalists. On Friday, a group of activists invited prosecutors to press charges against them in a protest against a law that restricts free speech and has been used to prosecute intellectuals.
Five members of the small Powerful Turkey Party stood in front of a prosecutor at a courthouse and repeated statements by Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk, slain journalist Dink and other intellectuals that were used as evidence to prosecute them under Article 301 of Turkey's penal code, which bans insults to Turkish identity.
The group, including party leader Tuna Bekleyic, then asked the prosecutor to file charges against them. Prosecutors would have to investigate Bekleyic and his friends before opening any lawsuit, and none of the activists were arrested. More members of the party, which has just a few thousand adherents in a country of 70 million, were expected to conduct a similar act of civil disobedience this week.
Article 301 makes denigrating Turkish identity a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. Pamuk and Dink had both spoken out about the mass killings of Armenians by Turks in the early 20th century, an issue that remains sensitive today. Numerous other writers, journalists and academics have also been prosecuted.