Gabon Ambassador demands further investigation of student’s death in Turkey

Gabon’s Ankara Ambassador has demanded a deeper investigation into 17-year-old Jeannah Danys Dinabongho “Dina” Ibouanga’s suspicious death in Karabük province, northern Turkey, where she was attending university. A life sentence is sought for one defendant for murder and sexual abuse.

A protester holds a placard reading, "Justice, it's me Dina."

Duvar English

The Ambassador of Gabon, Jean Bernard Avouma, has stated that Turkish authorities needed to extend the investigation into the death of 17-year-old university student Jeannah Danys Dinabongho “Dina” Ibouanga, who was studying as an international student at Karabük University in northern Turkey. 

According to Avouma, Dina was last seen running out of her apartment building, which warranted further investigation to determine the conditions of her death, according to May 1 reporting by the Demirören News Agency (DHA).

Avouma spoke to journalists on April 29, before the third hearing of the murder case took place at the Karabük courthouse, with attendance by Dina’s parents, Gabonese university students, and feminist groups.

Dinabongho's parents Guy Serge Ibouanga (L) and Jessica Sandra Makemba Panga (R) arrived from Gabon for the hearing. Photo: Evrim Kepenek / Bianet

Lawyer Büşra Altunoluk also believed the investigation should be extended. The court has so far dropped seven of the eight defendants from the case, who should have been included as eyewitnesses according to the lawyer. 

No verdict came out of the third hearing on April 29, and the court denied Dina’s family’s requests for an on-site inspection of the apartment building where Dina left running and to question other potential witnesses. 

Spokesperson for the "Feminists for Dina" initiative Damla Ayar stated that the court insisted on treating the case as a regular penal case, ignoring the "underlying power dynamics" of the murder. 

"The road to Dina's death was paved by racism and the patriarchy," noted Ayar.  

The 60-year-old defendant Dursun Acar pleaded innocent, claiming he was too weak to physically hurt Dinabongho. The court ruled for his continued arrest. 

The next hearing is scheduled for August 5. 

The dead body of the 17-year-old student was found in the Yeşilköy area of Filyos Stream in Karabük on March 26, 2023.

Previously, Dinabongho's family revealed the voice messages she sent to her mother in Gabon one day before her death. In these messages, she talked about being mistreated in Karabük, receiving sex solicitation, and said that she could be killed at any time.