Afghan miner murdered for kidney then burned, says wife in first hearing of case

The first hearing of the case regarding the burning of Afghan miner Vezir Muhammed Nourtani in Turkey’s northern Zonguldak province took place on May 30. Wife Kamergül Maliki Nourtani demanded justice and expressed her desperation trying to navigate life after experiencing the horrific death of her husband to Gazete Duvar.

Mustafa Özdemir / Gazete Duvar

Kamergül Maliki Nourtani, the wife of Afghan immigrant Vezir Muhammed Nourtani, on June 1 spoke to Gazete Duvar following the first hearing of the murder case. 


Nourtani was working at an unauthorized coal mine in Turkey’s northern province of Zonguldak, when police found the miner’s burnt body in November 2023.

During the first hearing, wife Kamergül Maliki Nourtani raised her suspicions that her husband was attacked at the mine and did not fall ill naturally, as the defendants claimed. Nourtani stated that her husband had begun working at the mine barely three weeks ago.

According to wife Nourtani, the mine owners asked for her husband's kidney in return for 20 thousand dollars before the incident. They suspected the attack was premeditated to take the miner’s kidney. 

The miner’s legs and arms were broken when the gendarmerie found his body, which led the family lawyers to believe that he was attacked by others at the mine. 

She recounted her experiences at the hearing to Gazete Duvar, highlighting the contradictory statements of the six defendants. According to wife Nourtani, her husband's killers were lying.

"When I faced the killers in the courtroom, I felt helpless. I am a woman living alone. I only felt desperation,” she expressed her feelings during the hearing.

Nourtani emphasized the heinous nature of the crime and asked the Turkish judiciary to punish the defendants to the highest degree. 

She also revealed that the wife and lawyer of mine owner Hakan Körnöş came to her house and offered a large sum of money. 

“I did not let them in. Seeing them made my blood boil. I do not even want to see them,” said Nourtani. 

When asked if she felt safe, Nourtani answered that neither she nor her children felt safe ever since the incident. 

She also told the Migration Authority about feeling unsafe and scared but did not receive any assistance.

“I have nothing left. They took everything from me along with my husband. I have no thoughts or dreams for the future," she concluded. 

Six people including other miners and the owner of the unauthorized mine took the stand on the first hearing of the case on May 30. The defendants are looking at life sentences. They claimed they burned the body after finding Nourtani unconscious to avoid revealing the illegal status of the mine. 

During the hearing, two defendants who were miners held that it was mine owner Kornoş who came up with the idea and pressured them into burning the body, despite their pleas to take the unconscious Nourtani to hospital.

Mine owner Kornoş denied the allegations, saying he performed a heart massage on the victim and wanted to take him to a hospital, but others convinced him that the mine would be shut down if they did so. 

The court adjourned after ruling to continue the three defendants’ detention. 

(English version by Ayşenaz Toptaş)