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Turkey: early release for young man convicted of priest's 2006 murder

August 30, 2016

A young Turkish man who was convicted in 2006 for killing a Catholic missionary priest has been released from prison after serving just ten years of an 18-year sentence.

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Oguzhan Ayudin was convicted in October 2006 for the murder of Father Andrea Santoro, an Italian missionary who had been serving in the seaport of Trabzon, Turkey. The assailant reportedly shouted "Allahu akbar!" before shooting the priest, who was kneeling in prayer in his parish church.  

Turkish police announced the arrest of Ayudin soon after the crime (although his identity was not disclosed, because at the time he was only 16 years old). From the time of his arrest, Catholics in Turkey voiced skepticism about the teenager's guilt, suggesting that government officials had sought to wrap up the case after a perfunctory investigation.

Ayudin would have been eligible for parole next year. But he was released, along with hundreds of other convicts in Turkish jails, to make room for the prisoners arrested in the aftermath of a failed coup in July. 


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