Life sentences sought for suspects in high-profile femicide

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An Ankara prosecutor has sought life sentences for two suspects in the high-profile murder of 23-year-old university student Şule Çet in capital Ankara in 2018, according to local media.

The fifth hearing of the Şule Çet case took place on Nov. 20, as the prosecution’s assessment sought life sentences for suspects Çağatay Aksu and Berk Akand on charges of “murder,” “sexual harassment” and “deprivation of liberty” in connection with her death.

The court case also revealed a series of correspondence between the suspects, implying cooperation to come out of the charges.

Local media reports show that Aksu had written, “Either we stand or fall together,” in a letter sent to Akand.

While the prosecution’s assessment sought a life sentence and 39 years of imprisonment for Aksu, it requested 31 years of incarceration for Akand. The prosecutor stated that Akand was an accomplice to Aksu in every charge they face.

The trial was later adjourned until Dec. 4.

Şule Çet’s case reignited debate over mounting violence against women in Turkey, where more than 350 women have been killed this year.

Before the trial, many non-governmental organizations and women’s right platforms gathered in front of the courthouse chanting, “Do not bow down; bring murderers to account.” The crowd was also unfurling banners reading, “Justice for Şule Çet.”

The Gazi University textile design student was found dead after falling 66 meters from the 20th floor of a skyscraper in Ankara’s upscale Çankaya district on May 28, 2018.

Aksu was Şule’s boss. He had hired Çet as an assistant and later fired her from his business.

On the day of Çet’s death, Aksu and Akand invited her to dinner to talk about her working situation. Later, they went to Aksu’s office for after-dinner drinks, where the incident took place.

Aksu claimed that Çet committed suicide by jumping from his office window at 4 a.m.

It was later revealed that Çet had sent an SMS to a friend two hours before her death saying, “I can’t get out of here. This man doesn’t let me go. He is obsessed with me.”

Forensic evidence early on showed that Çet was forced into anal sex before her death. DNA traces were found under nine of her fingernails, as well as bruises on her body pointing to a struggle. The DNA under two of the fingernails was traced to Akand.

Reports by the Forensic Medicine Institution clearly show that a man had sexual intercourse with Şule because tests during her autopsy revealed the presence of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) – a marker of sperm on her body.

Traces of saliva were also found in Şule’s anal zone during the autopsy

Aksu claims that Şule committed suicide and he tried to save her, while Akand was in another room, “sleeping.”

Yet, no traces of fingerprints were found on the window where Aksu claims that Şule jumped.

Hurriyet Daily News

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