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06/22/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) –  In May 2019, 86-year-old Greek Christian and citizen of Turkey Zafir Pinaris, was found tortured to death in his home on the island of Imbros (Gökçeada). The courts recently ruled that his torture was not considered a hate crime, and the courts also did not allow Turkey’s Human Rights Association (IHD) to participate in the case.

Three suspects were arrested, though one died shortly after being imprisoned. The remaining two, Mete Sari and Kadir Arslan, both received 15 years for looting, though only Arslan received a life sentence for premeditated murder. Two other defendants were tried without arrest, one of whom was a juvenile.

IHD lawyer Inci Incesağır commented on the case’s status as a hate crime saying, “There is an understanding [in Turkey] that ‘If one is Greek, one is definitely very rich and his/her money should belong to “us,” not to the Greek.’ Therefore, we think that this should be considered as a hate murder, but our request for intervention was rejected [by the court].”

The island of Imbros was cleansed ethnically cleansed by Turkish authorities and was a demographically Greek island until pressures mounted against local Christians in the 1960s.

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