The Case of Roşin Çiçek: Violation of the Right to Life

Since the publication of this report, the 13th hearing of the case was completed on 15 August 2013 with no progress on the prosecutor’s renewal of the meritorious demands. The next hearing will be on 5 December 2013. Roşin Çiçek was 17 when he was killed. 

Source: Sosyal Politikalar, Cinsiyet Kimliği ve Cinsel Yönelim Çalışmaları Derneği. (Social Policies, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Studies Association) LGBT Hak İhlalleri: Emsal Dava Analizleri (LGBT Rights Violations: Analysis of Cases.) Istanbul: Punto Baskı Çözümleri, 2013. Available at: http://www.spod.org.tr/turkce/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/emsal-dava-analizleri-son1.pdf

Subject of Investigation

The procedures of investigation and prosecution and whether these procedures have been conducted according to the law and justice. (The prosecution has not been completed yet. The file will be analyzed again after the procedures of the local court and the Supreme Court of Appeals.)

Scope of Investigation

Diyarbakır Third Criminal Court for Aggravated Crimes File 2012/495.

Procedures of Investigation

Roşin ÇİÇEK was found wounded following a tip-off on 02.07.2012 at the corner of the Diyarbakır Research and Education Hospital on the road to Elazığ and passed away on 04.07.2012 in the Dicle University Hospital. The autopsy report, requested by the Prosecutor’s Office, revealed that Roşin Çiçek died due to being wounded by a firearm and the bullet’s entry point on the victim’s head revealed that the firearm administered a contact shot.

A tip was given to the Diyarbakır Directorship of Security’s Electronic Communications’ Office at 3:00 PM on 02.07.2012. The tip gave the location of the car used in the event on the night of 02.07.2012 and the murder weapon.

The Diyarbakır Second Criminal Court of Peace decided to search, seize, and investigate the car with its 02.07.2012 No: 2012/635 D. İŞ. decision.

The Diyarbakır Second Criminal Court of Peace decided to take hand swabs, blood, and nail samples from the defendants to compare to the blood found in various spots around the scene of the crime with its No: 212/639 D. İŞ. decision.

The Diyarbakır First Criminal Court of Peace decided to search, seize, and investigate suspect Şeyhmus Çiçek’s house with its 02.07.2012 No: 2012/644 D. İŞ. decision.

Procedures of investigation, search, and seizure were conducted in a car with the license plates 06 DD 0363, the defendants’ houses, and the scene of the crime with the Crime Scene Investigation Report dated 02.07.2012.

Suspects Metin Çiçek, Şeyhmus Çiçek and Mehmet Alican Çiçek’s were taken into custody on 02.07.2012 and their time in custody was extended.

The suspects, the victim’s father and his two uncles, were caught and arrested at the beginning of the investigation.

Proceedings regarding suspect METİN ÇİÇEK: 

A day before the murder, on 01.07.2012, Roşin’s father informed the police that his son had gone missing.

Procedures on the right to inform relatives, the right to demand a lawyer, the right to meet with a lawyer, seizure, and arrest were executed according to the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Metin ÇİÇEK was taken into custody on 02.07.2012 on the charges of planning and attempting to kill with a firearm. In his 03.07.2012 statement in the presence of the defense counsel, he stated that Roşin ran away from home from time to time, that he contacted the police on 01.07.2012 because Roşin was missing, that Roşin was seen near the Faculty on 01.07.2012 and started to run away when he saw his brother Sabri.

Metin ÇİÇEK stated that he, his son Sabri, and the other defendants looked for Roşin in places he would go to in the city center but could not find him. He stated that the charges against him were without merit and absolutely denied the claim that he and the other defendants had committed the crime.

Proceedings regarding suspect ŞEYHMUS ÇİÇEK: 

The suspect Şeyhmus ÇİÇEK was taken into custody on 02.07.2012 in relation to causing life-threatening injury with a firearm.

Procedures on the right to inform relatives, the right to demand a lawyer, the right to meet with a lawyer, seizure, and arrest were executed according to the Code of Criminal Procedure.

On 02.07.2012 at 11:30 PM in the presence of the defense counsel at the Homicide Department, the suspect Şeyhmus Çiçek stated that he received a call from his brother Metin in the evening hours, that he went to the suspect Metin’s house because Roşin was missing for days, and that all the defendants went looking for Roşin. He further stated that after being unable to find Roşin, he and his brother Metin took a commercial vehicle at around 00:00 and went to their respective residential addresses.

Proceedings regarding MEHMET ALİCAN ÇİÇEK:

The suspect Mehmet Alican ÇİÇEK was taken into custody on 02.07.2012 in relation to causing life-threatening injury with a firearm.

Procedures on the right to inform relatives, the right to demand a lawyer, the right to meet with a lawyer, seizure, and arrest were executed according to the Code of Criminal Procedure.

On 03.07.2012 at 11:30 PM in the presence of the defense counsel at the Homicide Department, the suspect Mehmet Alican ÇİÇEK stated that he was at work between 09:00-10:00 PM on 02.07.2012, that his brother Metin called and told him he was looking for Roşin, that he joined his brothers to search for Roşin. He further stated that they could not find Roşin and went home in the early hours.

During the investigation, the statements of Sabri Çiçek, Rojda Çiçek, Bartu Karadeniz, İbrahim Dündar, Hidayet Taş, and Şehmus Polattağ were taken.

The Prosecutor’s Office demanded that the suspects be arrested for murder. The Diyarbakır Second Criminal Court of Peace summarized the suspects’ statements in its 03.07.2012 Investigation No: 2012/134 file like this:

Suspect Metin ÇİÇEK: Roşin was missing for 10 days, they went out to look for him, he did not attempt to murder Roşin, he does not accept the identification of the investigation.

Suspect Şeyhmus ÇİÇEK: He did not attempt to murder Roşin, he does not accept the identification, he went out to look for Roşin with the other suspects, he does not accept the testimonies against him.

Suspect Mehmet Alican ÇİÇEK: His statement is the same as Şeyhmus Çiçek’s.

Diyarbakır Second Criminal Court of Peace decided to arrest the suspects, whose statements are located in the 03.07.2012 Investigation No: 2012/134 file, due to the strong evidence against them.

The defense counsels opposed the arrest on various dates but their requests were denied.

The Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office demanded that the three suspects be sentenced to aggravated life in prison for murdering close kin, carrying an unregistered firearm as implicated by the Turkish Penal Code’s Article 37/1[1] as stated in Investigation No: 2012/19314 and Indictment No: 2012/7906. Briefly, from the Indictment:

After Roşin left his home and the suspects began searching for him, Roşin was found it the Aydınlar compound of Batıkent Exit. The indictment is based on the claims that the suspects beat the victim within the compound and put the victim into the trunk of the car Şeyhmus Çiçek was driving, shot the victim once with a contact-shot, dumped him out of the car at Üç Kuyular District on the Elazığ road, and then ran away. Roşin died on 04.07.2012.

We understand from the Indictment that other than the witnesses, two ANONYMOUS people gave their witness testimonies.

The Diyarbakır Third Higher Court of Aggravated Crimes accepted the indictment with File No: 2012/495.

Procedures of the Prosecution

A public case was opened against METİN ÇİÇEK, ŞEYHMUS ÇİÇEK, and MEHMET ALİCAN ÇİÇEK on 19.10.2012 after the Diyarbakır Third Higher Court of Aggravated Crimes File No: 2012/495, the Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office No: 2012/19314, and Indictment No: 2012/7906 were accepted. The first hearing took place on 16.11.2012.

The victim’s mother and siblings joined the pending case as joint plaintiffs. At the same time, the Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) requested to join the pending case as a joint plaintiff at the 5th hearing. For the first time in Turkey’s legal system, an LGBT association’s request to join the murder case of a homosexual was accepted.

The case is continuing with its 13th hearing on 15.08.2013.

In the 1st hearing on 16.11.2012, the suspects’ statements were not taken because their defense counsels were not presents. The hearing was postponed until 07.12.2012.

In the 2nd hearing on 07.12.2012, the testimonies of the suspects, the joint plaintiffs, and some witnesses were taken. The hearing was postponed until 18.01.2013 with the decision to continue the suspects’ arrests and to hear some of the other witnesses in the interim.

In the 3rd hearing on 19.12.2012, a “secret trial” was conducted to take the testimony of ANONYMOUS WITNESS 1.

In the 4th hearing on 28.12.2012, a “secret trial” was conducted to take the testimony of ANONYMOUS WITNESS 2.

In the 5th hearing on 18.01.2013, the Social Policies, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD) requested to join the pending case as a joint plaintiff and this request was accepted. The hearing was postponed until 02.04.2013 with the decision to request the telephone call transcripts of the suspects since their internment and to hear some of the other witnesses in the interim.

In the 6th hearing on 01.02.2013, the witness Bartu Karadeniz’s testimony was taken.

In the 7th hearing on 01.02.2013, the witness İbrahim Dündar’s testimony was taken.

In the 8th hearing on 02.04.2013, the Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Organization (Kaos GL) requested to join the pending case as a joint plaintiff but this request was denied on the basis that SPoD had already joined the case and that the participation of one association in regards to sexual orientation was sufficient.

The defense counsels requested that the hearings be closed to the public but the Court rejected this request on the basis that it was against the principle of publicity. The hearing was postponed until 30.04.2013.

In the 9th hearing on 22.04.2013, the witnesses for the suspects were heard in an interim hearing.

In the 10th hearing on 30.04.2013, the witnesses for the defendants were heard and the prosecutor put forth his opinion about merits. The defense counsels requested additional time to declare the statements upon the subject matter of the case and the hearing was postponed until 24.05.2013.

In the 11th hearing on 24.05.2013, the suspect, and father, Metin Çiçek’s made a statement that changed the entire course of the case. Metin Çiçek admitted to killing Roşin and claimed that the other suspects had nothing to do with it. The suspect Metin’s sole admittance to the crime against the statements upon the subject matter of the case led to the prosecutor’s request for additional time to prepare the renewal of the meritorious demands. The hearing was postponed until 28.06.2013.

The prosecutor who was following this case was assigned to a different location.

In the 12th hearing on 28.06.2013, though the prosecutor’s requested additional time to prepare the renewal of the meritorious demands in the previous hearing, the hearing was postponed until 15.08.2013 because the opinion was not completed.

The court board was assigned to a different location and a temporary board heard the hearing.

As mandated by the interim decisions, the report of Historical Traffic Search that details call times and information on which cell towers were used, as well as the call transcripts of the suspects during their time in prison were added to the file. The HTS report reveals that there were both long and short calls the day of the event. The suspects Şeyhmus and Mehmet Alican had testified that they were together at a market between 00:00 and 01:00 on the night of the event. However, the HTS report shows that they were not together then.

The telephone transcripts can be grouped into two.

1. The content of Metin Çiçek’s conversations with his wife Gülten Çiçek and other family members state that he did not commit the murder and that the other members committed the murder but they were pressuring him to admit to it.

Metin-Gülten ÇİÇEK’s prison phone conversations reveal the gravity of the situation and shed some light on it. Some parts from the Metin-Gülten ÇİÇEK conversations;

  • “Listen to me, my candid confession, the real confession, Alican put his [Roşin] head under his arm and Şeğo [Şeyhmus] had the gun in his hand, I’m telling you, go get the file looked at…”
  • “Şeğo and that Alican knock him about in the elevator and put his head under his arm…Then they bring him to the car and do that thing with the gun by the car, listen to me.”
  • He is ignoble, forget it, and the one that died is also ignoble, look listen to me…They take him there, they argue, one shot to his head, put him the car, take him and dump him…”
  • “…That’s the end of a man who does not benefit his parents, who isn’t like this.”
  • “…Fuck it, let him die.”
  • Your brother and Şeyhmus already offered me a house” … “Just testify against Metin and we’ll take care of you forever”…
  • “Sabahattin told you he threatened me, tomorrow if Metin testifies against them, we will kill you. Metin, Sabahttin threatened me.”

2. Şeyhmus Çiçek and Mehmet Alican Çiçek’s phone conversations are about Metin taking responsibility for the crime; somehow making the witnesses to the event recant their testimonies; that they did not commit them murder; that it is the conspiracy of the Metin and Gülten.

The transcripts of sound file no: 20120925_093647_014 of Mehmet Alican- Gülten ÇİÇEK reveal Mehmet Alican saying, “no no, his fate was fulfilled, look, humans, they open their hand and say God, do what is best for me, Lord, do that, do you understand?” … “Not now but you killed him when he was a child. Now, about this, there is a verse, there is the tribe of Lot, tribe of Lot, do you understand… That’s why this was best for him [Roşin]”…

These statements make clear that they thought Roşin must die because of his homosexuality. The defendants killed Roşin because of his sexual orientation.

The transcripts of sound file no: 20120921_103846 of Mehmet Alican- Gülten ÇİÇEK reveal how the event happened with M. Alican Çiçek saying, just for one moment, how did it happen to that car’s bumper, it exploded in his hand for a moment, I’m saying, by his will, no matter how many Qur‘ans there are, God’s name is one, without willing, if they want they can punish for 150 years”… “…By God, that child was not killed on purpose and death and that other word you are thinking is not.” “…Maybe there was some movement and who knows how, but one rascal.” 

Conclusions on the Investigation and Observations

When we look at the files up until the last hearing, we see that the suspects have made contradictory statements to each other from the very beginning. The father, Metin, insisted until the last hearings that he did not commit the murder. On the other hand, we know from the file that the other suspects pressured Metin to admit to the murder while in prison.

Though the other two suspects’ phone conversations with family members state that they are victims of a conspiracy, the insistence on silencing the witnesses at the apartment where the event happened has lead to the recantation of the witness statements. So we must ask this question: If they are not part of the crime, why did they bother so much with the witnesses?

The suspects who said they saw the events during the investigation and then participated in the identification changed their testimonies completely during the prosecution.

Gülten and Rojda, who joined the pending case as joint plaintiffs, have stated that they are not pressing charges against the suspects; however, they are still in the category of joint plaintiffs. Another terrible situation is that the minor Sabri (b. 1997) joining the pending case as a joint plaintiff will be one of the reasons for the Supreme Court of Appeals to annul the case.

The Indictment and the first opinion about merits requested that the defendants be punished in the severest way because of voluntary manslaughter based on Turkish Penal Code’s Article 82/1 (a), willingly, (d) against a descendant, (j) ethical/customary reasons[2] and Article 37/1 for joint execution.[3] Also the Honorable Court must give the defendants’ the right to additional defense based on Article 82/1 (j) customary reasons, which was not included in the indictment and the opinion, and rule on this sub clause. The sexual orientation of the victim, the voluntary nature of the crime, and the way the crime was committed are proof that the crime was committed under motivations and reasons relating to customs. 

We cannot tell what awaits us on the 15.08.2013 hearing. Even though the suspects’ hand swabs were requested during the investigation and prosecution, their results have not been added to the file. While there is no information on whether the gun used in the crime is the gun found in Metin’s house, there is also no useful information about the gun in the file. On the other hand, the court also did not include the Historical Traffic Search report on the phone conversations of Metin-Gülten and Rojda in the file.

Though Metin Çiçek has admitted to the crime, there is still vagueness about who actually committed the crime. Who pulled the trigger? How much do the anonymous witnesses know? It is likely that the anonymous witnesses are from Roşin’s family… But the family’s thoughts and behaviors during the prosecution create conflict.

With the change of the court board and the prosecutor, the path of the case remains unclear. SPoD’s joining of the case as a joint plaintiff has changed the entire course of the case. A crowd follows all hearings and the case is in the media. It was not only Roşin who was killed; it was all LGBT people who are not open to their families like Roşin.

Lawyer Fırat SÖYLE


[1] Perpetration                                                                                                 ARTICLE 37-(1) Each one of the persons who jointly execute the act defined as crime in the law is responsible from its legal consequences as the offender. (2) Also, a person who uses another person in commission of a crime is also kept responsible as the offender. The punishment of the persons who uses a person(s) lacking culpability is increased from one–third up to one half.

[2] Qualified form of felonious homicide

ARTICLE 82– (1) In case of commission of this offense for the following reasons the offender is sentenced to life imprisonment; a) Willfully, b) Ferociously or brutality, c) By use of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons which cause explosion or result with fire, flood, destruction, sinking etc. d) Against any one of the antecedents or descendants, or spouse or brother/sister, or e) Against a child or a person who cannot protect himself due to corporal or spiritual disability, or f) Against a pregnant woman, or g) By virtue of public office, or h) With the intention of concealing or facilitating commission of an offense, or destroying the evidences, or i) Blood feud, j) Ethical reasons.

[3] See Footnote, 26.

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