Public furious over court’s reason for reducing jail term of Gültekin’s killer
The elements of deliberately killing with monstrous feelings or causing torment did not exist in the murder of 27-year-old Pınar Gültekin, a local court has stated while announcing the reason behind the reduction of the jail term of the murderer Cemal Metin Avcı in the country’s high-profile femicide case.
Gültekin went missing in the southwestern province of Muğla on July 16, 2020.
Five days later, Avcı confessed that he had strangled Gültekin to death before burning her body and dumping it in a forest, after mounting evidence against him.
The report from the Forensic Medicine Institute had revealed that Gültekin was burned alive.
Avcı was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment. However, his sentence was then reduced to 23 years based on “unjust provocation” on June 20, stirring a public debate.
On June 23, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ also joined the angry public, highlighting that lawmakers should discuss the “unjust provocation discount.”
According to the report of the third High Criminal Court in Muğla issued on June 25, which stated that the prior acquaintance and disagreements between the parties were considered, there was no evidence that the accused acted with the intention of “killing just for the sake of killing,” or “enjoying the pain of the deceased,” or “sacrificing the deceased.”
“The purpose of the accused in carrying out the act of burning is not to torment,” the court said, adding that the aim of disposing of the body was to avoid the capture and destroy the criminal evidence.
The court said, the report from the Forensic Medicine Institute stating that Gültekin was burned alive and the additional reports issued afterward were not sufficient.
“While the court considered and sanctified all of the defenses of the accused, any of our statements were not considered. We are shocked and saddened by this situation,” said Rezan Epözdemir, lawyer of Gültekin’s family.
“The decision is unlawful and baseless,” he said. “Both we and the lawyers of the prosecutor’s office and the Family and Social Services Ministry have made objection against the decision.”
“The reasoned decision is contradictory because it is different from the evidence and the content of the file. The court’s statement that there was no monstrous feeling or torment in Gültekin’s murder is enough to reveal the gravity of this unlawful decision,” he added.
“We have requested for recusation four times during the case,” he said. “This request was not accepted.”
“We hope that a decision will be made in the court of appeal and supreme court,” said Epözdemir, emphasizing that this decision is a legal strangeness.
The justified decision of the court caused an uproar on social media, many asking, “Where is justice?”