15-year sentence for the woman who killed her abusive husband ratified

Çilem Doğan, convicted in 2016 for killing her husband, became a symbol of women’s struggle against abuse.

Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals has ratified the 15-year prison sentence for Çilem Doğan, a woman who made headlines in June 2016 after being convicted of killing her abusive husband, who allegedly forced her into prostitution.

The 30-year-old Doğan was released on bail of 50,000 liras – slightly less than 4,500 euros – after an appeal filed in 2016 by his lawyer before the Supreme Court of Appeals, which was due to render a verdict on the sentence issued by a local court of the Turkish province of Adana. The case received notable attention from the Turkish media, as well as organisations fighting for women’s rights.

After hearing the decision of the appeals court, Doğan was deeply saddened by the decision. “They have not actually convicted me, but an 8-year-old girl,” she said, referring to her daughter, who was 2 and a half years old when she was convicted in 2016 after the murder of her husband. Now, the woman laments, the girl will grow up without a father, but also without a mother.

For his part, İsa Ayanoğlu, the lawyer for the convicted woman, announced after hearing the resolution that he would appeal to the General Board of Criminal Justice, insisting that the decision taken is unfair and that it will only serve to further promote violence against women.

Her husband abused her and forced her into prostitution

Married in 2013 to Hasan Karabulut, the woman has always maintained that from the beginning her husband abused her continuously, even forcing her to prostitute herself to get money; the woman tried repeatedly to seek help by going to authorities, police or courts, all to no avail; and when she tried to divorce him, her husband threatened to kill her entire family. Finally, fearing for her life and with no other options, she murdered her husband with a weapon that he kept in her house.

The initial sentence to life in prison for the crime, ultimately stayed in 18 years that were lowered to 15 years in prison for her good behaviour during the process. The president of the court that convicted her, cast a private vote in favour of her free acquittal.

The case of this woman who killed her abusive husband, became a symbol of violence against women in Turkey and the fight for her rights; famous was a photograph of her when she was escorted to court, in which she appeared with a T-shirt where it could be read: “Dear past, thank you for all the lessons. Dear future, I am ready ”.