Turkish woman walks free after killing abusive boyfriend thanks to final court ruling
Turkey’s Court of Cassation has ruled that a woman who stabbed her boyfriend to death amid a sexual assault “used the right to self-defense,” concluding a key case with a landmark verdict that let the defendant walk free without any jail sentence.
The incident had happened in the southern Turkish province of Antalya in 2014 where the man, identified only as Özgür E., had been living with the woman, identified as Aslıhan Ş., and their disabled child for five years.
Aslıhan Ş. stabbed Özgür E. from the throat during his latest attempt to force her to sexual intercourse. She then put every effort to stop the bleeding and called the ambulance, but the man died in hospital, according to court documents.
The woman, who was arrested, proved through forensics examinations that she was raped and injured during the incident.
The Antalya 3rd Heavy Penal Court still sentenced her to an aggravated life sentence for premeditated murder, before reducing it to 16 years because the crime was committed under “unjust provocation.”
Legal saga in appeals court
The woman’s lawyers appealed to the Court of Cassation, which is the ultimate appeals authority.
The court’s 1st Penal Chamber overturned the local court’s verdict, ruling that the murder should not have been described as premeditated and the maximum possible amount of reduction should have been applied.
Two judges in the chamber noted their opposing views, arguing that the death was the result of self-defense.
After the Chief Prosecutor’s Office at the Court of Cassation appealed both the chamber’s ruling and the opposing views, the case was sent to the court’s top body, the General Assembly.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported Dec. 5 that the Court of Cassation’s General Assembly recently ruled its final verdict.
‘Acted out of necessity’
According to the report, the court said the woman acted under her right to self-defence, which stipulates that she will not serve any jail sentence.
“The perpetrator cannot be punished if he or she had acted as part of a necessity to proportionately stop an unjust attack against his or her rights,” the Article 25 of the Turkish Penal Law that the court referred to says.
The women’s right to self-defense has been a source of public debate since 2012 when Nevin Yıldırım had killed her rapist and threw his severed head to a village square in the southern province of Isparta.
The Court of Cassation had overturned a local court’s ruling of life sentence, but the same court, which put Yıldırım on trial once more, had issued the same sentence again in March, arguing that she did not act in self-defense.
In another case, Çilem Doğan had killed her husband, who forced her into prostitution, in the southern province of Adana in 2015.
A local court had rejected Doğan’s argument of self-defense, sentencing her to 15 years in jail but she was released on bail in 2016.
Another woman in the Central Anatolian province of Konya was also sentenced by a regional appeals court to life in prison in 2016 after killing her boyfriend as he attempted to rape her.