The case against Cologne-based author Dogan Akhanli ended on Oct. 12 with an acquittal issued at the 11th Chamber of the Besiktas (Istanbul) Criminal Court.
Turkish prosecutors had accused Akhanli of having participated in the armed robbery of a currency exchange store, which ended in the death of one person, in October 1989.
Akhanli had gone underground following the military coup in 1980. From 1985-87, he was held in a military facility in Istanbul and tortured. In 1991, he escaped to Germany, where he was accepted as a political refugee. Turkey subsequently took away his citizenship rights. Akhanli became a German citizen in 2001.
Since the mid-1990′s, he has lived as a writer in the city of Cologne and has addressed such topics as memorializing genocides of the 20th century, inter-cultural dialogue, and reconciliation. Akhanli has received numerous awards and prizes, and is engaged in pursuing information related to Hrant Dink’s assassination.
In August 2010, he returned Turkey to visit his dying father and was arrested and jailed for four months, until international demands for his freedom led to his release and return to Germany this month.
With its decision, the court satisfied the defense’s petition in full and acquitted Dogan Akhanli.
“The nightmare is over,” said Erol after the pronouncement of the judgment.