Arab Today, arab today 3 go on trial over turkish students murder
Last Updated : GMT 14:02:48
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3 go on trial over Turkish student's murder

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Arab Today, arab today 3 go on trial over Turkish student's murder

Women hold posters of Ozgecan Aslan
Istanbul - AFP

Three men went on trial in Turkey on Friday for the murder and attempted rape of a 20-year-old female student, in a case that has sparked an outpouring of anger over violence against women.

Ozgecan Aslan was murdered in the southern region of Mersin in February while returning home from a shopping trip in a minibus.

The driver of the minibus, Ahmet Suphi Altindoken, 26, was arrested and charged with murder and attempted rape.

His father, Necmettin Altindoken, and a friend, Fatih Gokce, were also arrested and charged with helping him cover up the crime and conceal evidence.

In tearful and sometimes gruesome opening testimony, the younger Altindoken admitted killing Ozgecan by stabbing her in the neck.

But he denied any sexual attack.

If found guilty, all three face so-called life imprisonment with no possibility of parole -- the highest penalty possible in Turkey.

All three suspects were present in court for the start of the trial in the city of Tarsus in Mersin province, Turkish television said.
Ahmet Suphi Altindoken is accused of driving his victim to a wood after all the other passengers had got off and then attempting to rape her.

Prosecutors said that the young woman fought back against her attacker using pepper spray and that Altindoken then bludgeoned and stabbed her.

Altindoken's father and friend are accused of helping him burn the body and dispose of it in a riverbed.

- 'Stabbed in neck' -

To jeers from the public gallery, Altindoken claimed it was Aslan who started the fight, by provoking him when he tried to take a short cut.

He said Aslan insulted him, saying "Get lost, you're a disgrace."  

"Well, you are a disgrace," members of the public shouted.
"As everyone knows, I'm a bad tempered man. And it's normal for me to get annoyed, considering how tired and sleepless I was," Altindoken, who is married with a three-year-old child, was quoted by the Hurriyet website as saying.

Altindoken said he started punching and kicking Aslan several times until the young woman lost consciousness.

He said he then called Gokce for help, who suggested killing Aslan and cutting off her hands in an attempt to hide DNA evidence under her fingernails.

"This is the first time I'm saying this: I saw Fatih with his trousers unzipped as he got off the minibus," he said, suggesting that his friend might have raped Aslan.

"After that I took the knife and stabbed her in the neck," he said, covering his mouth and eyes with his hands and weeping.

The pair were later joined by Altindoken's father, who helped them dispose of the body.

Altindoken pleaded not guilty to raping Aslan and said the young woman's body caught fire when "I panicked and accidentally poured gasoline on her."

"May God never let this happen to anyone,"  he added.

- '1,000 lawyers co-plaintiffs' -

In a show of solidarity with the victims of violence against women, some 1,000 lawyers requested to join the trial to represent Aslan.

Television pictures showed them arriving in buses from all over Turkey but there was only space for around 100 inside the courtroom.

Hundreds of supporters also massed outside the courthouse, holding up pictures of the victim and demanding justice.

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

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

In another shocking attack in May, a teenage Turkish woman who was competing in a nationwide televised song contest was shot in the head, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend. Mutlu Kaya, 19, remains in a coma.

 

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