Istanbul, Apr. 20, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Three Christian murder victims were brutally tortured for hours before their death, Turkish media reports reveal.
The Islamic zealots who attacked a Christian publishing house in the city of Malatya on April 18 prolonged the suffering of their victims by stabbing them repeatedly with dull knives, the media report. A Sabah newspaper story notes that one victim, the German missionary Tilman Geske, suffered 156 knife wounds.
An AsiaNews correspondent notes that the Turkish media have provided gruesome details of the crime, but still shy away from mentioning the motivation of the killers, who were apparently influenced by a vitriolic anti-Christian propaganda campaign which still continues in Turkey.
The Hurriyet newspaper reports that the attackers were led by a 22-year-old, Emre Gunaydin, who threw himself from a window to his death before police could capture him. Police are reportedly still looking for several accomplices to the crime, with 10 young men already in custody.
The Sabah story says that the attacks had originally intended to kill the owner of the Zirve publishing house, Martin de Lenge. However, when they could not find him, they killed the three Christian employees who were in the offices.The leading Islamic figure in Turkey-- who met with Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) during his visit there last November-- condemned the killings. "Murder cannot be justified by religion," said Grand Mufti Ali Bardakoglu. "Such heinous murders are a most grave sin. This is a betrayal of Islam."