Can fight serial killers well

474 feminicides in Turkey : This is how activists fight against the indulgent judiciary

Wait, wait, wait: In the “To the court” café opposite the Palace of Justice in Istanbul's Bakirköy district, it is very busy. Anyone dealing with the judiciary in Turkey has to be patient - the courts are overloaded and negotiations are often delayed by hours.

Between the lawyers, witnesses and relatives killing time in the café, two women are sitting at a back table - one younger and red-haired, the other older with a gray ponytail and a brightly colored cardigan. Over tea with lemon, they wait on this rainy morning for the 14th Chamber of Jury to catch up on their arrears and call the Ayten Adigüzel murder case.

You have to have time for that, says the younger woman - her name is Duygu Bayburt and a pilot with Turkish Airlines. Because of her unusual working hours, she says she sometimes has weekdays off; She used this free time to take part as an observer in trials against alleged murderers of women.

474 women were killed by their partner

"I was always upset when I heard or read about the many murders of women, I wanted to do something about it," says the pilot. “At the women's platform I learned what I can personally do about it, and now I come to such processes as an observer and already have the feeling that I'm making a difference.

Duygu speaks of the platform “We stop the murder of women” - a movement in which thousands of women all over Turkey have come together to counter violence against women. According to the association's census, 474 women in Turkey were killed by their husbands or partners last year - including presumably the housewife and mother Ayten Adigüzel, whose husband is on trial today.

There are the necessary laws in Turkey

“A relatively typical case,” says Oya Ucar, the older of the two women in the café. “Like many other women, Ayten has long been threatened by her husband, and like many others, she has received no protection. In the end she was killed in front of her two young children. "

Turkey has the necessary laws to protect women, say the two activists. “Our problem is that these provisions are not being applied sufficiently by the authorities.” Not only the police and the public prosecutor are to blame for this, but also the courts, which treat women murderers too leniently.

Women murderers often get away with a few years in prison

The judges therefore have far too wide a margin of discretion when determining sentences. There are penalties for alleged affect, for remorse and often even for good conduct when the perpetrator appears in court in a suit and tie.

It is not uncommon for women murderers to get away with a few years in prison - not exactly a deterrent, complains the women's platform. Your trial observers want to create publicity and put the judges under pressure to make full use of criminal law.

That definitely brings something, says pilot Duygu Bayburt. “On the one hand, we support the relatives who are often badly harassed in the courtroom,” explains the pilot. In court, all sorts of accusations and slander were brought against the victim, who could no longer defend himself.

"Then it is said that the wife cheated on the husband, she provoked him or attacked him or something else - people act as if there could be a reasonable reason for such an act."

With their presence, the trial observers wanted to remind the judges “that the full sentence must be imposed for killing a person and that there must be no discounts or reductions”. And sometimes it is actually their presence that makes the difference in terms of the sentence - “that is definitely the case”.

“You are not alone,” it says on posters

In the early afternoon the time has finally come when a lawyer calls: the judges have worked through the lunch break to catch up on the schedule; the observers rush across the street to the court.

In front of the hall they hug the relatives of the killed woman, then it starts. The accused husband is brought before prison guards, he is actually wearing a suit and white shirt. His wife shot herself during a marriage dispute, he says. The court hears a few witnesses and adjourns to summon more witnesses.

Out on the street, Duygu and Oya unpack purple cardboard signs and stand with the mother and sisters of the murdered woman in front of the courthouse: “You are not alone,” it says on the posters. A couple of reporters responded to the women's platform and came to the photo opportunity.

What are twelve years already?

A sister of the dead, Sultan Validepe, addresses the press. “I implore all officials: Please put an end to this!” She appeals into the microphones. “The other day another woman murderer got away at the age of twelve. Twelve years! A person is dead, has lost his life - what are twelve years? We want my sister's killer to get lifelong. "

Duygu and Oya say goodbye to the family. A cousin hugs them both. “Thank you for being there and for bringing the case to the public,” she says. "If the murder of Ayten had not been made public through the women's platform, then it would most certainly have been covered up." Oya Ucar, the trial observer, sighs. Her commitment is certainly important, she says, but that just shows how bad it is with justice for women in Turkey.

“Actually, it shouldn't be necessary for us to be present for a murderer to be punished,” she says. “The laws are clear, you just have to apply them. But if the laws are only applied because we are there and apply pressure, then something is wrong. "

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