Female judge objects to court’s acquittal in rape case in Turkey’s Diyarbakır
DİYARBAKIR – Doğan News AgencyA judge in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Aug. 15 voiced her opposition to a local court ruling that acquitted two men charged with raping an 18-year-old woman.
Two suspects, identified only by the initials V.B and M.N.E., were put on trial in 2016 on charges of repeatedly threatening and raping the woman, whom they met on social media. The court gave a “not guilty” verdict on the grounds of “insufficient evidence” and the woman later withdrew her complaint after marrying the suspect V.B. in a religious ceremony.
However, after the ruling Judge Ayşegül Özaltun Baba stated that the marriage had taken place without a legally binding civil marriage. She also said the victim “withdrew her complaint and accepted the marriage proposal following neighborhood pressure and out of a wish not to make her family suffer more.”
According to the indictment, the 18-year-old woman, who is now 21, was raped by the 21-year-old M.N.E, who she met on Facebook, in 2014. M.N.E.’s friend V.B. subsequently contacted the woman online and reportedly wrote to her: “I know what you have been through. If you do not accept my offer [of sex], I will tell your family and disgrace you.”
The woman was raped by V.B. several times and he even videotaped her in an attempt to blackmail her, but she then filed a criminal lawsuit against both V.B. and M.N.E.
In the trial at the Diyarbakır 4th Heavy Penal Court, the woman described how she was pressured to drop the case.
“The suspect V.B. had sexual intercourse with me by force many times. Eventually I filed a legal complaint. After the suspect was arrested, his mother came to me and told me that if I drop my complaint she would marry me off with her son. I did not want to, but in order to not put my family in a difficult position I accepted it and withdrew my complaint,” she said.
The defendant V.B., however, denied the allegations, saying he never forced her into sexual intercourse and claiming that the relationship was consensual.
The court acquitted the two suspects on charges of “sexual assault” and “depriving someone of their liberty,” stating that the suspect had withdrawn her complaint and there was no “certain” evidence regarding the case.
The judge Baba, however, voiced her objection to the ruling after it was announced.
“Taking into account the victim’s genuine and consistent statements from the beginning, I do not agree with the acquittal ruling for the suspects,” she stated.