A LANDMARK ruling in Turkey has seen a father and two uncles jailed for life for the ‘honour killing’ of a 17-year-old gay teenager in 2012 in the country’s south-east.

Rosin Çiçek was found at the side of a road in the city of Diyarbakir on July 2, 2012 suffering from severe injuries including a bullet wound to his head. He died two days later.

Following a long-running court case spanning almost two years, Çiçek’s father, Metin, and his uncles,  Seyhmus and Mehmut, were found guilty of manslaughter on February 10. All three were handed life sentences.

The lawyer for the three accused men had at one point during the trial alleged the incident could not have occurred as the family was “modern and bourgeois”.

However, Çiçek’s father finally confessed to the killing, saying: “I wanted to scare my son. Should he have turned into a terrorist? We fought, I shot him.”

The closing stages of the trial also saw members of Çiçek’s family threaten to kill a number of LGBTI activists who were present for the case.

At one point, Çiçek’s mother screamed at the media: “If [my son] were gay, I would have killed him with my own hands. You have shamed us.”

Australian queer Muslim community leader Alyena Mohummadally commended the sentence handed down by the judges, telling the Star Observer the case was a sad reminder that gay and trans* people across parts of the Middle East and wider Muslim world were still in danger of such violence.

“These horrific crimes involve a family member inflicting a vicious ‘punishment’ on another family member, supposedly to address the ‘dishonour’ brought upon the family,” she said.

“What saddens me is that a family member — rather than accepting difference — would harm their own loved ones.

“As a queer Australian Muslim woman myself, I know of many queer Muslims who are accepted by their family and many who are not. The Turkish court is to be commended for the landmark ruling.”

Members of Turkey’s opposition, the Republican People’s Party, have now called on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s conservative government to introduce hate-crime laws that protect LGBTI people.

“It is mandatory that the government does not ignore these demands anymore,” opposition vice-president Sezgin Tanrıkulu said in a statement.

“The rights violations people experience because of their sexual orientations are absolutely unacceptable and a significant transformation in society is necessary to prevent the pressure, attacks, and murders committed against these individuals.

“To ensure that other murders like Rosin Çiçek’s do not happen, the ruling Justice and Development Party and all political institutions, non-governmental organisations, and public opinion leaders must fulfil their responsibilities. Otherwise, they are partners in hate crimes.”

 

 

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