Last week a criminal court in northwestern Turkey postponed trial hearings against ultra-nationalists accused of severely injuring a Protestant Christian for distributing New Testaments and doing "missionary propaganda."
In a cursory 15-minute hearing, the judge of the Orhangazi Criminal Court confirmed that Yakup Cindilli had been given physical and psychological tests by official medical examiners, as ordered. However, according to forensic results, the only way to determine whether Cindilli will fully recover from his injuries is to wait for another 15 months and re-test him. Accordingly, the judge set the next trial hearing for June 18, 2005.
Five months ago, three members of the Nationalist Movement Party attacked Cindilli, 32, and injured him so severely that the Turkish convert spent two months in a coma under intensive hospital care. Ismail Kulakcioglu, pastor of the Bursa Protestant Church, submitted a written intervention plea to the court, stating that other members of his church had suffered "similar attacks, threats and insults." Defense lawyers promptly rejected the implications that Cindilli’s injuries were life-threatening, and the prosecutor recommended that the church’s intervention plea be rejected.