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Turkish court releases man convicted of killing woman’s abusive boyfriend

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Kadir Şeker, who was convicted of killing a man after Şeker saw him beating his girlfriend in a public park in 2020, has been released from prison on the basis of time already served, local media reported on Thursday.

On Feb. 5, 2020, 20-year-old Şeker heard a woman crying when he left the library to go home in the Selçuklu district of Konya and went to see what was going on. Seeing that the woman, later identified as Ayşe Dırla, was being beaten by her abusive boyfriend Özgür Duran, who had 19 criminal offenses on his record for inflicting deliberate injury, theft, looting and dealing drugs, Şeker approached the scene to tell him to stop.

Then Şeker and Duran got into a fight during which Duran was stabbed in his heart. Duran, 32, died from his injuries shortly after being taken to a hospital.

Although Şeker, who was arrested soon after the incident, was initially sentenced to 12 years, six months on charges of “premeditated murder” by the Konya 3rd High Criminal Court, his sentence was reduced to 10 years, 10 months in a retrial after the 1st Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the decision on June 15, saying the minimum sentence should be given to the defendant.

When Şeker’s lawyers later objected at the Konya 4th High Criminal Court to the continuation of his detention, the court ruled for his release taking time already served into account. Şeker had spent two years, five months and a day behind bars.

The court also imposed a travel ban on Şeker and placed him under judicial supervision.

Women’s rights groups were closely following the trial and demanding Şeker’s release, saying that keeping him in jail would discourage other people from intervening when they see a woman being subjected to violence.

Femicides and violence against women are serious problems in Turkey, where women are killed, raped or beaten every day.

Around four out of 10 women in Turkey have suffered physical and/or sexual violence during their lives, said Emma Sinclair Webb, Human Rights Watch (HRW) senior Turkey researcher with the Europe and Central Asia division, in an interview she gave in May of this year, citing data from an HRW report titled “Combatting Domestic Violence in Turkey: The Deadly Impact of Failure to Protect.”

Webb said this was unacceptable as nearly 40 percent of women suffered from violence or stalking, in addition to hundreds of femicide cases being recorded each year by women’s rights groups and independent media.

It was also stated in the report that Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government failed to provide effective protection from domestic violence.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sparked outrage in Turkey and the international community after he issued a decree in March 2021 that pulled the country out of the İstanbul Convention, which requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.

The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, is an international accord designed to protect women’s rights and prevent domestic violence in societies and was opened to the signature of member countries of the Council of Europe in 2011.

Since Turkey’s withdrawal from the treaty, Turkish authorities have been pressuring women’s rights organizations over their activist work.

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