Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Malatya murders remembered 5 years later

Christian martyrs Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel
and Tillman Geske
(Photo by Compass Direct)
Today, April 18, is the fifth anniversary of the murders of three Christians (Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske) at the Zirve Christian publishing house in Malatya, Eastern Turkey, in April 2007, reports Middle East Concern.

Memorial services are planned for the three grave sites, and also at a church in Istanbul. Nacati and Tilmann were married, with two and three children respectively, and Ugur was engaged. His finance has since married another believer.

Five men, aged 19 and 20 at the time, were arrested at the scene and were charged with the murder. Their trial opened in November 2007 and became complicated as a result of efforts to identify those behind the perpetrators.

A hearing was held on February 17, the 37th since the trial opened. The panel of judges announced that an indictment was being prepared against those suspected of instigating the murders and would be ready in time for the next hearing scheduled for April 9-13 to give time for defence testimony and cross-examination.
However, on April 9 the court heard that the indictment was not yet ready, and the hearing was postponed until June 18. The indictment is expected to name former local commanders and other officials who are already in custody.

Under Turkish law, those accused will be exonerated if they have not been formally convicted and sentenced within five years, which had caused concern that delays will lead to the perpetrators being released. However, this law does not apply in terrorism cases, and this case is officially designated as a terror case. Therefore, the perpetrators will not be released.

Turkish Christians request our continued prayers that:
  • Family members and friends of the murdered men will continue to know the peace of Jesus as the trial process continues.
  • All those who aided or perpetrated the murders would have a deep conviction about what they have done, and understand the depths of Jesus' forgiveness.
  • All judges, other officials, lawyers and journalists involved will hear the gospel of Jesus, and be drawn to the Father's love, forgiveness and acceptance.
The May edition of The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter shares the testimony of a boy in Turkey who has suffered much for his faith in Jesus. To read his story, be sure to sign up for a free subscription today. 

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