Provocation Reduction for Bishop’s Murderer

Source: Burcu Karakaş, “Rahip katiline tahrik indirimi,” (“Provocation reduction for Bishop’s murderer,”) Milliyet, 24 January 2013, http://gundem.milliyet.com.tr/rahip-katline-tahrik-indirimi/gundem/gundemdetay/24.01.2013/1659533/default.htm

Murat Altun, who was being tried for life in prison for the murder of Bishop Padovese in Iskenderun in 2010, benefited from the unjust provocation reduction and was sentenced to 15 years in prison in January 2013.

Bishop Luigi Padovese, Representative of the Catholic Church in Anatolia, was stabbed to death in his home on 3 June 2010 in the Iskenderun region of Hatay. His murderer Murat Altun was tried for life in prison but received only 15 years jail time. The Iskenderun Second High Criminal Court agreed with the prosecutor’s reasoning that “the defendant’s claim that there was a demand for sexual intercourse must be considered given the principle that the suspect benefits from doubt even though the deceased cannot prove otherwise.” Based on this reasoning the court ruled on the “unjust provocation reduction” for the defendant.

The prosecution submitted its opinion on the defendant Murat Altun, who worked as a driver and who was detained in the Iskenderun Type M Closed Penal Facility, during the hearing at the Iskenderun Second High Criminal Court. The prosecutor stated in its opinion that “the defendant’s psychological state was disturbed due to his claim that the deceased made sexual demands though there is no solid evidence of the existence of these demands; the defendant claims that he had sexual intercourse with the deceased previously; without contrary evidence, the defendant stated that they were together and then the deceased wanted to have sexual intercourse; the defendant rejected the proposition; in a moment of rage the defendant walked into the room with a fruit knife he had grabbed from the kitchen, the deceased ran out of the house to save himself, the defendant caught him at the entrance of the house and slit his throat and thereby caused his death.”

The event was isolated, there was no criminal organization behind it

The prosecutorial opinion also stated that Murat Altun had no known ties to a criminal organization and that “the event is isolated; therefore the defendant’s statements on sexual intercourse and their relation must be considered; the act was the result of a moment’s decision; the defendant’s claim that there was a demand for sexual intercourse must be considered given the principle that ‘the suspect benefits from doubt’ even though the deceased cannot prove otherwise and that it must be accepted that the defendant committed the crime after being provoked by an unjust act; that the legal grounds for unjust provocation exist because the defendant stated that such a relation existed prior to the event.”

“There was a reason”

The defendant Murat Altun said, “I regret committing the crime. I did not kill a human for no reason; I killed him because there was a reason. Why would I kill him otherwise?” The court panel ruled that Altun be sentenced to 18 years in prison for having committed the act due to unjust provocation and reduced the sentence to 15 years in prison with a good behavior reduction of 3 years.

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