Three go on trial over at­tempted rape and mur­der of Turk­ish stu­dent

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Three men on Fri­day went on trial at a Turk­ish court fac­ing life im­pris­on­ment over the mur­der and at­tempted rape of a 20-yearold fe­male stu­dent that un­leashed a wave of anger over vi­o­lence against women in the coun­try.

Ozge­can As­lan was mur­dered in the south­ern re­gion of Mersin in Fe­bru­ary while re­turn­ing home from a shop­ping trip on a minibus, in a crime that sparked street protests and In­ter­net cam­paigns.

The driver of the minibus, Ah­met Suphi Altin­do­ken, was ar­rested and charged with mur­der and at­tempted rape.

Mean­while his fa­ther, Necmet­tin Altin­do­ken, and a friend, Fatih Gokce, were also ar­rested and charged with help­ing him hide the crime and con­ceal ev­i­dence.

If found guilty, all face ag­gra­vated life im­pris­on­ment — life jail terms with tougher con­di­tions — the high­est penalty pos­si­ble in Turkey af­ter its abo­li­tion of the death penalty.

The trial got un­der­way at the court in the city of Tar­sus in the Mersin prov­ince with all three sus­pects present af­ter be­ing brought from their prisons, the Ana­to­lia news agency and NTV chan­nel re­ported.

In a show of sol­i­dar­ity, some 1,000 lawyers have re­quested to take part in the trial to rep­re­sent Ozge­can As­lan as co-plain­tiffs and tele­vi­sion pic­tures showed them ar­riv­ing in buses from all over Turkey.

How­ever there is only space for around 100 in the court. Hun­dreds of sup­port­ers also massed out­side the court, hold­ing up pic­tures of Ozge­can and urg­ing jus­tice.

Ah­met Suphi Altin­do­ken is ac­cused of driv­ing Ozge­can As­lan to a wood af­ter all the other pas­sen­gers had got off and then at­tempt­ing to rape her.

How­ever the young woman fought back against her at­tacker us­ing pep­per spray and Altin­do­ken then blud­geoned and stabbed her to death.

Altin­do­ken’s fa­ther and friend are ac­cused of help­ing him then burn and dis­pose of the body. The re­mains were found by po­lice and the three were ar­rested.

The Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties ac­knowl­edge there is a grave prob­lem of vi­o­lence against women in the coun­try, of­ten con­cern­ing wives killed by their hus­bands.

Ac­cord­ing to the Plat­form to Stop Vi­o­lence Against Women NGO, 286 women were mur­dered in Turkey in 2014 and 134 so far in 2015.

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