28/11/2020 | Writer: Yıldız Tar
Police officer Volkan Hicret, who killed Hande Buse Şeker, was sentenced to life imprisonment for deliberate murder without any remission for good behavior or unjust provocation. Lawyers criticize the lack of punishment as the murderer was not sentenced for deliberate murder with torture: We hope the higher courts will overrule this deficiency
Illustration: Aslı Alpar / Kaos GL
WARNING: This story is related to violence. Although details are not included, the incident is narrated. Content can trigger the memories of those who have previously exposed or witnessed violence, discrimination, hatred, and have traumatic effects. In such a case, you can contact the mental health professional you think can support you, contact the LGBTI+ formation in your city, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for support.
The eighth hearing of the case of Hande Buse Şeker, a sex worker trans woman who was killed last year, was held on November 26 at the İzmir 4th Heavy Penal Court.
Diyarbakır Bar Association requested to be involved in the case, but the court board rejected this request.
Hande Buse Şeker's attorneys submitted their statements demanding the sentence of the defendant with aggravated life imprisonment and punishment of other crimes on the upper limit. They emphasized the importance of this case in combating hate crimes against trans women.
During the hearing, Hande Buse's older sister said that their mother, whose illness progressed after the murder, died two days ago. She stated that her mother's last wish was for the defendant to be sentenced to the heaviest punishment.
The representative of the Ministry of Family, Labor, and Social Services, who participated in the case, demanded that the accused be punished with aggravated life imprisonment and sentences from the upper limit for the other charges.
Police officer Volkan Hicret, who robbed, sexually assaulted, and murdered Hande Buse Seker and injured her friend with his police gun while he was off duty on January 9, 2019 in Şeker's house in İzmir, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Hicret was sentenced to life in prison for deliberate murder, 21 years for qualified sexual assault, 3 times 5 years and 6 months for qualified looting, 2 times 9 months for wounding, and 2 years for insulting the memory of the person.
The court rejected the Hicret's requests for unjust provocation and good behavior. At the same time, the request of Şeker's lawyers for the sentence of aggravated life was also rejected
“The sentence should have been issued for qualified intentional murder”
Kaos GL Legal Coordinator Att. Kerem Dikmen, one of the lawyers of the case who evaluated the outcome to KaosGL.org, said that they requested aggravated life imprisonment but it was rejected:
“With this decision, the punishment was given at the highest limit of what can be expected. We actually requested an aggravated life sentence. We stated that committing sexual assault and murder together should be punished with aggravated life imprisonment. However, the court did not request additional defense from the defendant at any stage. We knew that the heaviest possible punishment would be life imprisonment, as he did not receive additional defense. However, we argued the act of murder was qualified in this incident.
“The defendant had requested a remission on the grounds of good behavior and unjust provocation. But the court disregarded this defense and did not apply any remission for unjust provocation or good behavior. Our demands were also in parallel with this decision. Throughout the trial, the defendant also insisted on keeping the hearings closed to the public.
“When we look at the indictment, the highest possible sentences were given in terms of the charges put forward in the indictment. However, we were saying that the indictment was also inadequate. We will appeal the decision, we demanded a trial for deliberate murder and we will appeal for it. "
“Even the verdict itself confirms qualified deliberate murder by inflicting torment”
Young LGBTI+ Legal Coordinator Att. Mahmut Şeren said that the fact that unjust provocation and good behavior remissions were not applied is important regarding the hate murders against trans women and added:
“However, we cannot say that it satisfies anyone’s conscience because it was not met with appropriate punishment. We wanted him to be punished on the grounds of deliberate murder with torture. In fact, the verdict itself confirms this. When you list the sentences received by the defendant, it takes one whole page. He was sentenced to life plus 41 years in prison. He committed many crimes and all of these were related to the murder. Naturally, the verdict too should have been established in this way according to the public and the trans women who share the same identity with the victim. According to the applications we have received, trans women are subjected to a lot of violations of their rights, but the vast majority of them cannot trust the judiciary system and think that they will be traumatized in judicial processes. Unfortunately, this was not the verdict that could reverse this perception and ensure trust in justice. However, it is not over yet. We will press the same charges in the higher courts. I hope the higher courts will overrule this deficiency and we would have a verdict in which hate crimes are not met with impunity. So the wishes of her family, relatives and all LGBTI+'s would also be fulfilled.”
What had happened?
While not on duty, a police officer named Volkan Hicret killed Hande Buse Şeker with a police gun at Şeker's home in Alsancak/İzmir on January 9, 2019. Police officer Volkan Hicret killed, extorted, sexually assaulted Şeker, and wounded her friend that was in the house.
A lawsuit has been commenced against the murderer cop Volkan Hicret at the 4th High Penal Court of İzmir. The case was closed to the public for a while. The decision of secrecy was lifted after lawyers objected and reacted.
It became difficult for the public to monitor the trial where most of it was heard closed to the public, the participation request of the Young LGBTI+ Association and Amnesty International's request to observe the case was rejected on the grounds of closedness and after the trial has been opened to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Translation: Yiğit E. Korkmaz
Tags: human rights, women