Reduced sentence for cat murderer disappoints animal rights advocates

A Turkish court has sentenced İbrahim Keloğlan for the violent murder of “Eros” the stray cat to two years and six months in prison in the highly anticipated retrial. Hundreds of animal rights advocates watched the trial and voiced disappointment with Keloğlan’s reduced sentence for good standing. 

Duvar English

A Turkish court on March 13 sentenced İbrahim Keloğlan to a two-year and six-month prison sentence and released him for good standing for the abuse and murder of stray cat “Eros” that stirred the country.

Hundreds of animal rights advocates arrived at the courthouse in Istanbul for the anticipated trial. The hearing was relocated to a larger courtroom due to the number of people demanding to attend the trial. 

The crowd waiting for admission into the courtroom fills the courthouse corridors.              Photo: Meral Candan / Gazete Duvar

Keloğlan said he “lost himself” during the incident, and he normally fed street cats during his defense. He added that the trial process has made life difficult for him and his wife. 

The prosecution requested Keloğlan’s punishment and arrest. 

The court ruled to sentence Keloğlan to three years and reduced the sentence to two years and six months due to good standing. The court also refused the prosecution’s arrest request and issued an international travel ban on the defendant. 

The crowd protested the decision, drawing attention to the violent nature of the crime. 

Protesters commemorate past victims of animal abuse and demand punishment of abusers. Photo: Meral Candan / Gazete Duvar 

Lawyer Cansın Tereci from the Istanbul Bar Association’s Animal Rights Center stated they would not accept the sentence. She added that the penal code was insufficient for violence against animals. 

“Laws should be amended urgently, and the penalties should be increased and applied accordingly,” she urged. 

She said, “Today, the Turkish public proved that street animals were not unprotected,” and ensured they would appeal the sentence once again. 

What had happened?

On Jan. 1, Keloğlan killed a stray cat cared for by residents of his apartment complex. Upon a criminal complaint by his neighbors, an Istanbul court sentenced Keloğlan to one year and three months and deferred the verdict.  

The ruling was criticized on social media, and around 250,000 signatures were collected in a short time. Users shared the security camera footage showing Keloğlan torturing the cat and demanded a bigger penalty for such violence.

Upon widespread criticism and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s involvement, another Istanbul court re-examined the footage and ruled Keloğlan’s sentence should be closer to the upper limit and reversed the judgment for a retrial.