ISTANBUL - The top appeals court has upheld a lower court’s decision to be lenient on those who are found guilty of honor killing because the two families in Diyarbakır involved in the case faced social estrangement if they had not acted as they did. In 2005 in the village of Kozan, a woman whose husband was performing his military service was seriously wounded after being shot by a teenager.
As a result of the rumor, her husband’s family decided to murder the girl and ordered the 16-year-old brother of the husband to do the deed, hoping the courts would be lenient toward him because of his age.
The 16-year-old was given an unregistered gun by his mother, brother and uncle and told to shoot his sister-in-law. He shot her five times in the presence of other family members. His uncle checked the body and told the boy to shoot her a few more times to ensure she was dead. She was shot a total of 10 times but was still alive when the gendarmerie arrived to rush her to a nearby hospital and saved her life.
In her testimony, the woman said she was not having an affair, but the man had entered her home one night and raped her. She also testified against her husband’s family. Meanwhile the younger brother of the woman who was allegedly having an affair decided to murder his older brother to prevent a blood feud between the two families.
The 15-year-old boy used his father’s registered gun to murder his older brother. This was an attempt to prevent a blood feud between the two families since it was believed to be either a rapist or a man having an affair with somebody else’s wife.
The two boys were tried in juvenile court and sentenced to 10 and five years in jail. The uncle and the brother of the boy who shot his sister-in-law were found guilty of instigating the crime and were sentenced to an initial life sentence, but it was later reduced to 7.5 years in prison each, while his mother was found innocent.
The lenient sentences were the result of the fact that their murder attempt was unsuccessful and that they were seen as accomplices, not instigators, which carry a sentence of life imprisonment. The family of the boy who shot and killed his brother was not charged.The Supreme Court of Appeals reviewed the case and approved the Diyarbakır court’s decision.
The top court said the region’s tradition placed an incredible burden on the two families and that if they had not done what they did, their community would have ostracized them.