Trial of Mgr Padovese’s murder begins
» 10/05/2011 16:29
TURKEY – VATICAN
by Geries Othman
The trial opened today. Its first hearing ended after 20 minutes, adjourned to next November. Murat Altun’s family comforted him, saying, “God is with you.” The accused said he felt ill; his lawyer asked for his hospitalisation. The judge refused.
Mgr Luigi Padovese, a Capuchin, had his throat cut by his young driven Murat Altun (see Geries Othman, “Mgr Luigi Padovese assassinated in southern Turkey,” in AsiaNews, 3 June 2010, and ibid., “Mgr. Padovese’s driver charged with murder. Doubts about his “insanity”,” in AsiaNews, 4 June 2010), a 26-year-old man who after his arrest gave police a number of reasons for his act, anti-Islamic feelings, an unwholesome and homosexual relationship, madness . . . .
The hearing lasted about 20 minutes and is set to resume on 30 November. The state attorney read the charges and asked Murat Altun if he had something to say. The accused responded by saying that he did not feel well and asked for a doctor. This was not be the first time that the accused showed signs of his illness.
Following a script used in the case of Fr Andrea Santoro (killed in 2006 in Trabzon), doctors certified Altun as suffering from medical illness. This meant that he could have avoided trial and could have been set free instead. However, back in June, a medical committee in Istanbul, after analysing Altun case file, determined that he was sound of mind and could be tried.
In today’s hearing, the defence attorney asked that his client be moved to a hospital, in Adana, until the next hearing, but the judge turned down the request. According to witnesses who were present in the courtroom, Murat Altun looked good and slightly fatter (by 4-5 kilos).
His entire family was present. When he entered the room, one of his brothers shouted, “Murat, don’t be afraid! God is with you.”
Only the prosecutors and defence attorneys are involved in the trial. In Turkey, neither the Catholic Church nor the Capuchin Order have no standing in the proceedings because they are not legally recognised and cannot intervene. Mgr Padovese’s family, which could be represented as the injured party, chose silence instead.
“The same happened for Fr Santoro,” a source told AsiaNews. “I am sorry for Mgr Padovese. He was kind to everyone; he did not deserve his family’s indifference.”