Friends of femicide victim Anastasia Emelianova demand justice 

Judges have postponed the ruling in the trial for the murder of Russian citizen Anastasia Emelianova in Turkey’s eastern Erzurum district. “Anastasia’s friends,” the feminist network reaching from Russia to Erzurum, attended the trial and demanded support and justice for the victim.

A placard reads, "The killers are in our homes," during a Women's Day March in Turkey.

Meral Candan / Gazete Duvar

The Turkish court overseeing the murder of Russian citizen Anastasia Emelianova did not finalize its ruling during the March 26 trial in the eastern province of Erzurum. 

Emelianova's partner Mohammad Nızar Arnabeh was on trial for murder, with prosecutors asking for a life sentence. 

Emelianova was found dead on Sept. 21 in her home in Erzurum province. Her death was suspicious, as her partner Arnabeh was in the house before her death.

In his first questioning, Arnabeh admitted to the murder but has since given conflicting statements throughout the investigation.

After her death, a feminist network called "Anastasia’s Friends” organized search efforts and demanded support and justice for the victim. 

Emelianova’s friend Julia Safronova has told Gazete Duvar how the solidarity group was formed. They understood something was wrong when Emelianova stopped communicating with them, and quickly joined forces.

“First, we contacted all of Anastasia’s friends to gather as much information as possible and begin searching for her,” she said. 

Those willing to help with the search met on a big feminist group chat and divided up tasks. “It was the only right thing to do, as the unfolding events showed us,” Safronova added. 

The group experienced every breakthrough and court hearing about Emelianova’s murder together. “Like each one of us, Anastasia was incredibly strong. We can reveal this power with our solidarity,” she said. 

The group’s biggest wish was for domestic violence laws to be enacted in every country and for women to be protected regardless of their past, religion, status, or age. 

Safronova and friends demanded a fair trial to honor the memory of Emelianova. She continued, “We could not protect her against domestic violence, and we owe to ensure a fair trial for her.” 

The “friends” would be responsible for taking care of Emelianova’s mother and grandmother, whom she loved immensely. 

“We should do everything in our power to protect the family from any more pain,” she said. 

Representatives from the group were present in today’s hearing. Safronova explained physically attending the trial was important to them, “First and foremost, we want to see the town where she has spent her last months.”

Anastasia's friends attend the hearing in Turkey's eastern Erzurum province.

She continued, “It will give us the chance to see what she saw, breathe the air she breathed, walk in the same streets she did in her last days, and feel her invisible presence for one last time.” 

The group also wanted to “look everyone involved in the trial in the eye,” to assess how much the judges were involved in the case. “We want to understand how important it is for them to bring the criminal into justice,” Safronova said.

Emelianova’s mother would not be able to attend the trial for various reasons. Therefore the group wanted to keep their friend company, and “stand behind her name.” 

Safronova held once again that Emelianova did not die by accident like the defendant claimed. “She was knowledgeable enough to call one of us if something happened to her. Also, she was perfectly healthy,” she noted.

The presiding judge has postponed the hearing to complete expert reports and missing alibis in the meantime. Defendant Arnabeh remains in custody. 

(English version by Ayşenaz Toptaş)