Turkish woman released on bail after killing ‘abusive’ husband

Turkish woman released on bail after killing ‘abusive’ husband

ADANA – Doğan News Agency
Turkish woman released on bail after killing ‘abusive’ husband

AA photo

Çilem Doğan, a woman who became a symbol of Turkey’s women’s movement after killing her husband for allegedly forcing her into prostitution, was released on bail on June 20. The ruling comes after a court in the southern province of Adana sentenced her to 15 years in jail less than two weeks ago. 

The Adana 10th Court of Serious Crimes ordered Doğan’s release on bail, worth 50,000 Turkish Liras, following her lawyer’s appeal, until the Supreme Court of Appeals’ examination of the sentence.

The court initially sentenced Doğan to an aggravated life sentence on charges of involuntary manslaughter, but later reduced the sentence to 18 years for unjust provocation and then 15 years for her good conduct during the trial.

Doğan’s family deposited the bail amount and she was released from the Tarsus closed prison in the southern province of Mersin on June 20.

After her release, Doğan told reporters that all of her struggles were for her child’s smile, vowing to continue to fight for women’s rights.

She claimed to have killed her husband, Hasan Karabulut, out of self-defense, saying he had forced her into prostitution. Karabulut had 19 criminal records as a “suspect” and Doğan had to get a total of nine protection orders against him. 

“I walked into the court’s corridors with bruises on my face to get protection orders. I didn’t have any other options left,” said Doğan in the courtroom during the final hearing of the case on June 8.

A day after her release, Doğan gave an exclusive interview to daily Evrensel, pledging to play an active role in women’s movements and expressing her confidence that the Court of Cassation will reverse the local court’s ruling. 

“I felt people raising their voices for me. My case is a case where self-defense is clear. I know the Supreme Court of Appeals will acquit me,” she said, adding that she still has “so much to give” to her two-year-old daughter Mira, who also experienced Karabulut’s violence.

“Many women have monitored this case from the start. I felt this had an effect in my release,” Doğan stated, adding that other women in prison bid her farewell with ululations and applause despite warnings from prison guards. 

 “I never once questioned myself, asking ‘Am I a murderer?’ Because I was dying every day. I am not a murderer. I went to bed with the murderer every day,” she said.

Speaking to reporters after greeting his daughter, her father Yusuf Doğan said his happiness was “beyond description.”

“Regardless of the sentence, it is also very important for us that they re-evaluated the period [of imprisonment,]” he said, underlining that the appeals process had continued for around two years.

Çilem Doğan’s lawyer İsa Ayanoğlu also praised the court’s decision for “giving a lesson” to all those who are prone to violence against their spouses.

“Teaching or giving a lesson is not the purpose of courts. But still they have the ability to steer social movements through their rulings,” Ayanoğlu said, adding that the Adana court’s decision served the “development and enlightenment” of Turkey’s social structure. 

He also said the fact that Doğan had a young daughter in need of a mother’s affection, and she posed no flight risk, factored in the court’s decision. 

Ayanoğlu added that his client will soon make an appeal to the civil registry to start using her maiden name “Doğan” in legal proceedings, instead of her husband’s surname “Karabulut,” after becoming widely recognized in Turkey as “Çilem Doğan” after becoming a symbol of the women’s movement and the movement against violence targeting women.

Doğan was exposed to violence following her marriage to Karabulut in 2013. She sought a divorce but gave up in the face of threats from her husband, who said he would kill her family should the divorce take place.

She was detained at her father’s house in Adana and soon confessed to the murder of her husband. 

“Will women always die? Let some men die too. I killed him for my honor,” Doğan told police on July 9, 2015.
While walking to the courthouse for a medical exam on the same day, Doğan was photographed wearing a T-shirt reading: “Dear past, thanks for all the lessons. Dear future, I am ready.”

Handcuffed between two police officers, Doğan also gave two “thumbs up” to reporters.