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Turkish court finds bishop's killer competent to stand trial

December 13, 2011

A Turkish court has ruled that the man who has confessed to killing Bishop Luigi Padovese is competent to stand trial for the murder—overruling a previous finding that the killer was insane.

After a series of hearings, and examination of medical and psychiatric records, the court found that Murat Altun is fit for trial. His defense lawyers had argued that he is emotionally disturbed, and last December a court had accepted that plea, temporarily blocking further investigation of the case. A second examination of his medical background produced a different result.

Altun was arrested soon after the death of Bishop Padovese on June 2, 2010. The defendant, who had been a chauffeur for the victim, admitted that he had slashed the bishop’s throat.

Church leaders in Turkey have pushed for a thorough investigation of the killing, and the possible connection of Altun to radical Islamic groups. Eyewitnesses have pointed out that after stabbing the bishop, Altun shouted: “Allahu akbar!”


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