Killing a Trans is Reason for Reduced Sentences

Source: Burcu Karakaş, “Trans Öldürmek İndirime Gerekçe,” (“Killing a Trans is Reason for Reduced Sentences,”) milliyet, 3 June 2014, http://www.milliyet.com.tr/trans-oldurmek-indirime-gerekce–gundem-1892227

Soybozkurt, a felon who murdered a trans woman in Avcılar and for whom the prosecutor asked for a sentence of life in prison was given a reduced prison term of fifteen years.

Regarding the case of B.Ü., the trans woman beaten to death in 2013 in Avcılar (Istanbul), the court issued a reduced penalty on account of unjust provocation and good behavior. As the reason for the reduced sentence, the court cited the possibility that the felon’s statement might be true. The felon had claimed in his statement that “he beat the victim in anger because she was a transvestite and she propositioned him.”

Seda (B.Ü.), the trans woman, lived in her friends’ apartment at Avcılar Meis Housing Complex, which was the site of attacks against trans residents and where the apartments of trans residents were sealed for allegedly being used for prostitution. B.Ü. died after she was found beaten on the street on 01 March 2013. Ramazan Soybozkurt, who was tried for murder, claimed that he did not intend to murder the victim, but he beat her upon getting upset by her proposition.

The verdict was issued on February 26, 2014 after the trial at the Bakırköy Fourth Criminal Court for Aggravated Crimes. The verdict cited as the reason for the reduced sentence the victim “being a transvestite.” The convicted felon Soybozkurt was given a reduced sentence due to provocation taking into account that “his statement might be true.” His sentence was reduced from life in prison to eighteen years; his prison term was further reduced to fifteen years for “good behavior.”

“They think it is entirely reasonable”

Fırat Söyle, the lawyer, reacted to the verdict by calling attention to other similar court verdicts for trans murders. He stated: “This is a verdict far from justice. The felon’s statement is not an unheard of defense. Courts find such statements as “they propositioned,” or “they propositioned for anal sex;” “I thought they were a woman” all as entirely reasonable defenses that warrant reduced sentences. If the murderers do not confess to their crimes, it is even possible that they may be acquitted.”

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