Life sentence requested for three suspects in Özgecan murder

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A Turkish prosecutor in the southern province of Mersin demanded life imprisonment for three suspects on Sept. 9 over the brutal killing of 21-year-old-student Özgecan Arslan, whose death in February caused massive outrage around the country.

The prosecutor charged three suspects, Ahmet Suphi Altındöken, Fatih Gökçe and Necmettin Altındöken, with various crimes including “merciless killing” and “attempt to rape,” requesting life sentences for the three individuals.

During the trial, the prosecutor also asked the court not to reduce their punishment by finding mitigating circumstances for the suspects. The court can introduce such provisions to lessen punishment, which most predict as unlikely in this trial due to the nature and extensive coverage the case has drawn.

Meanwhile, the three suspects were not brought to court to avoid any disturbance inside or outside of the courthouse. Instead, they appeared at the hearing via video conference.

Outside the court, the Women and Democracy Association (KADEM) staged a protest and called on the court to severely punish the three suspects.

The court in Mersin ruled that the three defendants in the murder case would continue to stay in prison until the next hearing, which will be held on Dec. 3. The three defendants will be brought to court for the third hearing.

In the first hearing on June 12, the defendants indirectly accused each other. Ahmet Suphi Altındöken was charged with murder and attempted rape, while his father and his friend were charged with helping him cover up the crime and conceal evidence.

On Feb. 11, Aslan was brutally murdered by Altındöken in Mersin after he diverted from the highway to a woody area, disregarding the young girl’s objections.

Two days after she was reported missing, Aslan’s burned body was discovered on Feb. 13 in a river bed in the Tarsus district.

Altındöken confessed during his interrogation at the gendarmerie that he had tried to rape Aslan, who had boarded the minibus he drove, and stabbed her to death before burning the body when he failed in his attack.

The brutal killing of Özgecan rocked the country, causing condemnation and sparking nationwide rallies over violence against women. On Feb. 18, around 15,000 people marched in Mersin to protest the brutal murder of Aslan.

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