The two brothers from Turkey who were charged with aiding and abetting a third brother as he performed an Islamic “honor killing” on their sister in Germany back in 2005 have been acquitted by a Turkish court, allowing them to sidestep the lengthy prison sentences they would normally face for such a heinous crime.
23-year-old Hatun Surucu was slaughtered by her 20-year-old brother, who fired three shots to the head as an alleged punishment for her Western lifestyle, prosecutors claimed. She was a divorced mother who had reportedly begun to assimilate into German culture.
That brother was sentenced to just 9 years and 3 months in prison after a trial that stretched into April 2006, but her two older brothers, Alpaslan and Mutlu Surucu, were acquitted because of a lack of evidence. By the time a German court could overturn the acquittals and attempt to prosecute them, they had left to Turkey, where they were protected from extradition by the government.
However, the Surucu brothers were put to a trial in their home country, where prosecutors demanded that each of them be sentenced to anywhere from 15 to 20 years in prison for their role in their sister’s murder. The court ruled on Tuesday that there was not “sufficient, certain, and credibly concrete” evidence against the brothers and decided to let them go free.
Now, advocacy groups have begun protesting the government over the perceived miscarriage of justice that the case represents. Fidan Ataselim, who heads a group that calls for the end to violence against women, submitted a request to speak on behalf of the slain victim. Her request was denied.
“The suspects had attorneys… their voices were heard. (Hatun) wasn’t able to speak for herself, her voice wasn’t heard,” Ataselim lamented.
The United Nations found in 2000 that Muslims carried out roughly 5,000 honor killings each year due to the heavy emphasis that is placed on family honor in Muslim society. They believe that women dishonor the family by refusing arranged marriages and becoming victims of rape, among other “crimes,” and that the only way to restore honor to the family is to kill the woman involved.