Turkish prosecutors drop negligence charges against judge and police in femicide case

Turkish prosecutors dropped negligence charges against a judge and police officers concerning the murder of a woman by her former husband. Following the death of Ayşe Tuba Arslan, activists had said that the murder could have been prevented if courts had previously taken “dissuasive measures” against the perpetrator and the police had enforced the restraining orders.

Ayşe Tuba Arslan was killed in 2019 by her former husband despite pressing charges against him 23 times.

Duvar English

Turkish prosecutors have decided not to initiate criminal charges against a judge and police forces to determine if they had a role of negligence in the case of Ayşe Tuba Arslan, who was killed in 2019 by her former husband despite pressing charges against him 23 times, online news portal T24 reported on Jan. 13.

Courts in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir dismissed several of the charges pressed by Arslan against former husband Özalpay. The 45-year-old woman had said in her petitions that she was receiving death threats and was fearing for her life.

Arslan lost her life on Nov. 25, 2019 in hospital, two weeks after being attacked by Özalpay with a meat cleaver. Özalpay was given life imprisonment for the murder.

In the meantime, the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) launched an investigation into judge K.G. over his dismissal of some of the charges that had been filed by Arslan.

Also, a separate investigation was launched into the Eskişehir police department as a restraining order against Özalpay had been in fact in effect on the day of the murder.

However, as a result of both of the investigations, a decision of non-prosecution was rendered by the Eskişehir Chief Public Prosecutor's Office.

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Utku Çakırözer took the case to the agenda of parliament, saying in his parliamentary motion that Özalpay had not been even previously arrested despite the existence of several death threats.

“Restrictive measures were several times violated by the perpetrator. But, neither dissuasive nor effective implementations were undertaken against him. He was not given a compulsory jail term. He was not even put on an electronic bracelet,” he said.

“Ayşe Tuba was forced to compromise with this perpetrator who imposed violence on her. The criminal cases either ended with an acquittal or monetary compensation. Good conduct abatement was constantly applied, therefore judges and prosecutors stayed very passive in the face of the perpetrator's death threats.”

Çakırözer said that since the murder of Arslan, 324 more women have been killed in Turkey and femicides will not end unless “state officials change their mentality.”

Following Arslan's death, seven women lawyers have prepared a 56-page-long report on how state officials were partially responsible for the murder.

The report said that the Eskişehir Family Court had failed to implement “effective measures” against the perpetrator and “turned a blind eye to systematic violence faced by Arslan.” It also said that the police had not enforced the four court-issued restraining orders against the perpetrator.