Suspect detained over murder of Syrian activist, journalist daughter in Turkey’s Bursa
Çetin Aydın - ISTANBUL
A suspect in connection with the murder of prominent Syrian opposition activist Orouba Barakat, 60, and her journalist daughter, Halla Barakat, was detained in the Marmara province of Bursa on Sept. 30.
The mother and her daughter were found murdered in their home in Istanbul’s Üsküdar district on the night of Sept. 21.
A police investigation reportedly concluded they had been stabbed to death, with unconfirmed reports of their throats being cut with their bodies lying undetected for up to three days.
Ahmet Barakat was detained after police inspected hundreds of hours of security camera footage.
Police captured him in Bursa following several raids in the province. The suspect was later taken to Istanbul for questioning.
Ahmet Barakat was reportedly a relative of the mother and daughter, according to police sources.
The bodies of Halla Barakat, 22, and Orouba Barakat were discovered when Halla Barakat’s friends came to their house after not being able to reach the 22-year-old. After no one answered the door, they notified the police about the situation, who had the door opened with the help of a locksmith. Police homicide teams then found the dead bodies of the Syrian activist along with her daughter.
After inspections, the police determined the two women were stabbed to death about two or three days ago, and their throats showed traces of being strangled.
The murder suspects were also determined to have poured detergent over the women’s bodies to prevent odor. The bodies were then taken to a forensic medicine institute.
Orouba Barakat was a well-known figure, especially for her articles on Syrian opposition figures exposed to torture in the country’s notorious prisons run by the Bashar al-Assad regime. She reportedly first fled to the U.K., then Saudi Arabia and finally to Istanbul after the civil war broke out in Syria.
Her daughter was reportedly working as an editor for Orient News, a Syrian media group owned by Syrian businessman, journalist and opposition figure Ghassan Aboud, based in Dubai.
A neighborhood resident told reporters: “We saw the police at the door [of the Barakats’ home]. They had killed the mother and the daughter by cutting their throats. As it happened at night, we do not have much information either. They are said to be Syrians.”
“They had poured lime over their bodies and their beds, as far as we have heard. It has been said their corpses were in the house for four days. They were nice people and did not harm anyone,” another neighborhood resident had said.